Melanoma Detection by AFM Indentation of Histological Specimens

Byoungjun Jeon, Hyo Gi Jung, Sang Won Lee, Gyudo Lee, Jung Hee Shim, Mi Ok Kim, Byung Jun Kim, Sang Hyon Kim, Hyungbeen Lee, Sang Woo Lee, Dae Sung Yoon, Seong Jin Jo, Tae Hyun Choi, Wonseok Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Melanoma is visible unlike other types of cancer, but it is still challenging to diagnose correctly because of the difficulty in distinguishing between benign nevus and melanoma. We conducted a robust investigation of melanoma, identifying considerable differences in local elastic properties between nevus and melanoma tissues by using atomic force microscopy (AFM) indentation of histological specimens. Specifically, the histograms of the elastic modulus of melanoma displayed multimodal Gaussian distributions, exhibiting heterogeneous mechanical properties, in contrast with the unimodal distributions of elastic modulus in the benign nevus. We identified this notable signature was consistent regardless of blotch incidence by sex, age, anatomical site (e.g., thigh, calf, arm, eyelid, and cheek), or cancer stage (I, IV, and V). In addition, we found that the non-linearity of the force-distance curves for melanoma is increased compared to benign nevus. We believe that AFM indentation of histological specimens may technically complement conventional histopathological analysis for earlier and more precise melanoma detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1736
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • atomic force microscopy
  • benign nevus
  • malignant melanoma
  • mechanical characterization
  • nanoindentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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