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AAD Preview: A Q&A On Skin Cancer Improvements

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What should attendees be listening for in your presentation?

I will be discussing the advancements in traditional and molecular risk stratification of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), and how it relates to management approaches. Attendees will be able to take away an evidence based approach of how to best risk stratify your patients and tumors one may encounter in a busy practice. I will focus on the shortcomings of traditional staging systems and what we have learned from recent work to improve those systems. This will lead to a discussion of the role of gene expression profiling (GEP) and attendees will be able to understand my approach of how to incorporate GEP into your practice, and what actionable items one can take based on the stage of a tumor and the results of a GEP test. 

What sessions are you personally looking forward to listening to and sitting in on?

I am very interested in the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), of which GEP is a type of AI and ML. I am eager to hear about advancements and developments in this field, specifically how other experts utilize AI and GEP in the assessment and management of cutaneous malignancies, as well as dermatology as a whole. There are a number of sessions on AI and augmented intelligence in dermatology and I am eager to hear the perspectives and expertise of these speakers who are leaders in this area. These sessions will focus on the use, development, and future of AI in dermatology, including a discussion of imaging tools, capabilities and shortcomings, as well as decision support as applied to current dermatological disease states. Furthermore, I believe in the central role of clinicians in the development of these tools and systems to optimally enhance human intelligence and capabilities, as this is a rapidly evolving area that has already begun to impact medicine and dermatologic care and will continue to do so for decades to come.

How can attendees get the most out of your session?

Whether you are interested in a specific clinical question or topic or just want to learn more, I think it is helpful to try to review or read a recent CME on the topic. There are a number of recent CMEs on CSCC, AI, GEP, and diagnostic tools in melanoma recently published and available in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This will help provide a basic foundation for the more in-depth discussion that will be had during my presentation as well as the other related talks in the session. If you are not able to, not a problem as there will be ample time for background introduction as well as a Q&A at the end of the session. The Q&A is an optimal time to flesh out specific questions or get clarity on confusing scenarios. If you are unable to ask a question during the session or not comfortable doing so, I urge you to come find me or one of the speakers after the session and we would very much enjoy discussing further topics that you may have questions about. And then, develop your own conclusions and implement them in your practice to see if the pearls are holding up as presented.

What do you hope attendees come away with from your presentation?

I hope attendees come away with an evidence based approach to how to risk stratify CSCCs using traditional staging systems, molecular technology such as GEP, as well as patient host factors. Ultimately, I hope this leads to an algorithm that providers can follow so they are more confident at treating low risk disease with appropriate non-aggressive and cost effective modalities (such as scoop removal and topical therapy) as well better at identifying high risk disease that needs extra attention and potentially treatment beyond surgery alone. 

Dr. Patel reports grant funding from Skin Cancer Foundation, consulting fees from Sanofi, Regeneron, Almirall, Jounce Therapuetics, PhD, and Biosciences. Dr. Patel also reports payments from RMEI, DKBMed, MLGNoneSanofi, and Regeneron, and stock from Science 37 and Lazarus AI.

Illustration by Jennifer Bogartz

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