Meta-analysis of number needed to treat for diagnosis of melanoma by clinical setting.
OBJECTIVE: To provide a formal statistical comparison of the efficacy of melanoma detection among different clinical settings. METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis of all relevant observational studies on number needed to treat (NNT) in relation to melanoma was performed in MEDLINE. We performed a random-effects model meta-analysis and reported NNTs with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The subgroup analysis was related to clinical setting. RESULTS: In all, 29 articles including a total of 398,549 biopsies/excisions were analyzed. The overall NNT was 9.71 (95% CI, 7.72-12.29): 22.62 (95% CI, 12.95-40.10) for primary care, 9.60 (95% CI, 6.97-13.41) for dermatology, and 5.85 (95% CI, 4.24-8.27) for pigmented lesion specialists. LIMITATIONS: There is heterogeneity in data reporting and the possibility of missing studies. In addition, the incidence of melanoma varies among clinical settings, which could affect NNT calculations. CONCLUSION: Pigmented lesion specialists have the lowest NNT, followed by dermatologists, suggesting that involving specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of pigmented skin lesions can likely improve patient outcomes.
Petty, AJ; Ackerson, B; Garza, R; Peterson, M; Liu, B; Green, C; Pavlis, M
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