Explore a selection of press releases from the 31st EADV Congress with key findings from some of the best research, & dive into the official Highlights Programme by Infomedica. The Highlights programme offers a hand-picked selection of the newest and most relevant data presented at the Congress; a free resource with key presentation summaries plus commentaries and video insight from leading experts in the field, a collection of posters with audio commentary, downloadable slide kits of key messages, and more!
Whether you attended the EADV Congress or not, the highlights programme has something for everyone.
Non-invasive skin immune biomarker test helps predict development of eczema in babies, new study finds
(7 September 2022, Milan, Italy) Researchers have identified an immune biomarker in newborns that can predict the subsequent onset and severity of paediatric atopic eczema, a new study presented at the 31st European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress has shown.1
The Barrier dysfunction in Atopic newBorns (BABY) study analysed a cohort of 450 babies (300 term and 150 preterm newborns) to examine whether skin barrier and immune biomarkers could predict the onset and severity of eczema during the first 2 years of life.
Both term and preterm babies with elevated levels of TARC (Thymus and Activation- Regulated Chemokine) at 2 months were found to be more than twice as likely to develop eczema by the age of 2 years. This increased risk was still prevalent after adjusting for parental atopy (where the immune system is more sensitive to allergic diseases) and filaggrin gene mutations, which is a major predisposing factor for eczema. The study found a positive association between the level of TARC and the severity of eczema.
Researchers used tape strips to painlessly and non-invasively collect skin cells from the back of babies’ hands at 0-3 days and 2 months in term children and from the skin between the shoulder blades at 2 months of age in preterm children. The strips were analysed for immune biomarkers and babies were followed up for the next 2 years.
First author and co-researcher Dr Anne-Sofie Halling, from the Bispebjerg Hospital at the University of Copenhagen, commented “To our knowledge, this is the first to show that non-invasively collected skin biomarkers can be used to predict the subsequent onset and severity of paediatric atopic eczema.”
“The study will help us investigate and create future preventative strategies for children with elevated TARC levels to help stop the development of this common and debilitating disease, which is an exciting prospect.”
Eczema affects up to 20% of the paediatric population and diagnoses continue to rise.2 60% of children with the disease are predisposed to develop one or more atopic
comorbidities, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis or food allergies. The condition causes dry, red, cracked and itchy skin, which can weep, bleed and become infected causing distress and sleep disturbance in children.
“The test is painless and easy to perform and can help us to identify skin changes that occur prior to the development of eczema, particularly for the most severe forms of the disease. This provides a window of opportunity to develop targeted trials and prevent cases of eczema from occurring”, concluded Dr Anne-Sofie Halling.
Two other biomarkers – interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-18 – were also associated with moderate-to-severe eczema in the study.
1. Skin biomarker changes precede the development of atopic dermatitis during the first 2 years of life, presented at EADV Congress 2022
About Dr Anne-Sofie Halling:
Dr Anne-Sofie Halling is from the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at the Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr Anne-Sofie Halling conducted the study under the supervision of principle investigator Professor Jacob P. Thyssen, from the Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
New major survey finds ‘healthy’ suntan myths persist despite warnings about skin cancer and aging
This is despite decades of awareness campaigns linking too much sun exposure to skin cancer and ageing in many countries.
Results from a survey, conducted by La Roche-Posay Laboratoires and IPSOS, of 17,000 people from 17 countries, including 6,000 people from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Russia, found the ‘healthy tan’ and other myths about sun safety are still very much alive in Europe and other countries.
Other myths included believing sun protection was not needed in cloudy weather and that you did not need sunscreen if you already had a tan.
People surveyed from non-European countries, including North and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia, were slightly less enthusiastic about suntans than Europeans, with 67% saying a tan was attractive and 59% believing a tan was healthy.
Although 92% of Europeans were aware of the skin ageing risks posed by the sun (86% outside of Europe), 84% of them admitted they did not protect themselves all year round (79% outside of Europe).
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Prof. Thierry Passeron stated: “This research shows just how entrenched the “healthy” suntan myth is – even in those who have already suffered sun damage or developed skin cancer.”
“We must drive awareness of the damage to skin cells caused by exposure to the sun, which can lead to photoaging and skin cancer. This is particularly important in Europe where sun protection appears most inadequate compared to other countries” added Prof. Thierry Passeron.
The survey also revealed that only 56% of Europeans know sun protection is useful when the weather is overcast (vs 64% outside of Europe), and 1 in 4 (24%)
thought it was safe to go outside without sun protection when they were already tanned (vs 21% outside of Europe).
Only 1 in 10 (10%) of Europeans said they routinely or often used all forms of sun protection, such as applying sunscreen, staying in the shade, wearing a hat and protective clothing all year round, compared to 14% amongst those outside of Europe.
“The public must also understand that they need to protect their skin all year round, even during overcast weather conditions. Once sunscreen has been applied, it must be reapplied every 2 hours to ensure sufficient protection. Other measures such as wearing sunglasses, a hat, and protective clothing, and seeking shade when it is possible, are also key photoprotection habits”, commented Prof. Thierry Passeron.
According to latest estimates about 1.7% of adults in Europe have skin cancer (around 7.3 million people).2 Ultraviolet (UV) sun exposure is also responsible for more than 80% of visible photoaging signs, such as lines and wrinkles.3
- Sun Exposure and Associated Risks in 17 Countries: Results from Europe Compared to Other Continents, presented at EADV Congress 2022
- https://eadvsymposium2022.org/over-seven-million-europeans-estimated-to- have-skin- cancer/#:~:text=Results%20of%20a%20new%20European,estimated%20to%20 have%20the%20disease.
About Prof. Thierry Passeron
Thierry Passeron is Professor and Chair of Dermatology at the University hospital of Nice. He also heads the laboratory INSERM U1065 team 12, C3M, dedicated to the study of molecular mechanisms involved in pigmentation and melanoma. Additionally, he is head of the University laser center in Nice. He is president of the Department of Clinical Research and Innovation at Nice University hospital and vice- president of Côte d’Azur University. He has 12 international patents and more than 300 publications in scientific journals (h-index 52). He is the co-founder of YUKIN therapeutics. His fields of research include pigmentary disorders (including vitiligo and melasma), melanoma, hidradenitis suppurativa, alopecia areata and lasers.
Dermatology researchers discovered that those who were deficient in vitamin D (lower than 10ng/mL) following their melanoma diagnosis were twice as likely (hazard ratio 2.3) to have lower overall survival than those with vitamin D levels equal/greater than 10ng/mL.
The retrospective study analysed a cohort of 264 patients with invasive melanoma from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, to investigate whether vitamin D plays a protective role in melanoma survival.
The study investigated the differences in overall survival and melanoma- specific survival between groups using statistical analysis techniques, such as Kaplan-Meir curves and cox regression models to control for confounding variables
The findings remained significant even when adjusting the model for age at diagnosis, sex, Breslow index (depth of the melanoma from the skin surface to the deepest point), and the season of the year, with a hazard ratio of 2.4 in the multivariate analysis.
In contrast with previous studies, our study showed that the basal characteristics at diagnosis of melanoma (age, sex, phototype of patients, location, histological subtype, Breslow index, ulceration and mitotic index of tumours) were not associated with differences in vitamin D levels. Furthermore, Vitamin D deficiency was not shown to impact melanoma- specific survival.
Lead researcher Dr Inés Gracia-Darder, from the Hospital University Son Espases, Mallorca, Spain, commented “Although previous research has identified that normal levels of vitamin D play a protective role in melanoma survival, this study aimed to further understand this relationship. These findings suggest that vitamin D has a significant impact on people with melanoma, showing in particular that vitamin D deficient patients have a lower overall survival.”
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give skin colour) grow uncontrollably. In 2020 it was estimated that melanomas accounted for 4% of all new cancer diagnoses and 1.3 % of all cancer deaths in the EU-27. Of these cases, 50,972 were diagnosed in women and 55,597 were diagnosed in men. There were 7,031 deaths in women and 9,457 in men in the EU-27 in 2020.2
Dr Gracia-Darder added: “Although the mechanisms underlying the association between vitamin D and melanoma overall survival still require further investigation, this study will hopefully encourage further research examining whether vitamin D supplements may have the ability to improve the prognosis for vitamin D deficient melanoma patients and increase their overall survival.”
1. Worse overall survival associated with vitamin d deficiency in melanoma patients, presented at EADV Congress 2022.
About Dr Inés Gracia-Darder:
Dr Inés Gracia-Darder is from the Hospital University Son Espases, Mallorca, Spain.
New imaging technique improves accuracy of diagnosis for the most common skin cancer
The study found that using a new, non-invasive skin imaging technology called line-field confocal optical coherence tomography (LC-OCT), which gives detailed 3D images at cellular level, significantly increased diagnostic accuracy.
For the differentiation of BCC from BCC-imitators (such as squamous cell carcinoma, actinic and seborrheic keratosis, dermal nevus, and inflammatory conditions), using LC-OCT significantly increased the diagnostic accuracy by 12% compared to dermoscopic examination alone (from 85% up to 97%), the most commonly used skin cancer diagnostic techniques.
Importantly, for the differentiation of superficial BCC (a subtype that can be treated non-surgically) from other BCC subtypes, using LC-OCT again increased the diagnostic accuracy by 12% compared to dermoscopic examination alone (from 80% to 92%).
The study also produced a diagnostic algorithm useful to guide the clinician’s diagnosis towards different BCC and BCC-imitators’ subtypes. The algorithm is based on the most powerful LC-OCT morphological criteria that came out from their comprehensive statistical analysis.
Researchers from the Department of Dermatology at the Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, analysed 303 lesions, including 173 BCC and 130 BCC-imitators in the study.
“Our findings suggest that, when in front of an BCC equivocal lesion, LC-OCT enables a more accurate diagnosis and, therefore, should be included in the diagnostic process and management of BCC”, states Professor Mariano Suppa, a lead researcher and consultant dermatologist from Italy..
Prof. Suppa explains: “LC-OCT has the potential to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and excisions in cases of superficial BCC and also in the case of benign lesions that do not require surgery”.
BCC is a type of skin cancer, mainly caused by sun exposure, or use of tanning beds. While it grows slowly and rarely spreads, it is the most common form of cancer worldwide and incidence has doubled in the past 20 years.2 In Europe, the incidence is between 50 and 80 new patients per 100 persons, per year.3
Prof. Suppa said: “Diagnosing basal cell carcinoma can be challenging using clinical or dermoscopic assessments alone and it is crucial that the condition is correctly diagnosed in order to treat it properly. We found that the accuracy of diagnosis can be improved by at least 12% using LC-OCT, both in terms of differentiating BCCs from other skin conditions, and of identifying BCC subtypes that do not require surgery.”
- Line-Field Confocal Optical Coherence Tomography For Basal Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Study On Diagnostic Performance, presented at EADV Congress 2022
- Insight into the number of patients diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in the Netherlands and an estimation of future numbers. Schreuder et al. British Journal of Dermatology/ Volume 186 Issue 3/p476-484. British Journal of Dermatology: Vol 186, No 3 (wiley.com)
- Basal Cell Carcinoma, European Skin Cancer Foundation. http://www.escf- network.eu/en/patients/skin-cancer/basal-cell-carcinoma.html
About Prof Mariano Suppa:
Mariano Suppa is an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium, and currently serves as vice-president of the non-invasive skin imaging group of the Société Française de Dermatologie (GICNI-SFD); member of the Communication Committee of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV); member of the EUROMELANOMA Prevention Campaign Organizing Committee; and member of the “Hidradenitis Suppurativa Global Alliance” Expert Group. After his medical studies in Italy, France, and UK, he subsequently got his PhD at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium). His main clinical/research interests are non-invasive skin imaging, dermato-oncology, skin cancer prevention, hidradenitis suppurativa, epidemiology and biostatistics.
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