Abcd rule

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

All authors of this article

Last updated on: 29.10.2020

Dieser Artikel auf Deutsch

This section has been translated automatically.

Clinical rule for assessing the dignity of pigmented skin lesions or melanocytic nevi according to the following criteria:

  • A = Asymmetry (unequal halves on both sides of an imaginary centre line)
  • B = Border irregularity (irregular limitation)
  • C = Colour variation, especially occurrence of black, grey, red tones, fading of individual components (most important criterion)
  • D = Diameter (diameter): more than 5 mm or size growth

If all four criteria are met, a pigmented skin change is highly suspect of a malignant melanoma. Exophytic growth (E = elevation) can be included as the 5th parameter in the assessment of the tumour.

  • E = Elevation

Remember! The ABCD rule is generally accepted as a guideline for dignity criteria of melanocytic nevi. However, it often fails in nodular malignant melanoma, but especially in amelanotic tumors.

This section has been translated automatically.

  1. Chamberlain AJ et al (2003) Nodular melanoma: Patient`s perceptions of presenting features and implications for earlier detection. J Am Dermatol 48: 694-701


Last updated on: 29.10.2020