Acral melanoma detection using a convolutional neural network for dermoscopy images

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 7;13(3):e0193321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193321. eCollection 2018.


Background/purpose: Acral melanoma is the most common type of melanoma in Asians, and usually results in a poor prognosis due to late diagnosis. We applied a convolutional neural network to dermoscopy images of acral melanoma and benign nevi on the hands and feet and evaluated its usefulness for the early diagnosis of these conditions.

Methods: A total of 724 dermoscopy images comprising acral melanoma (350 images from 81 patients) and benign nevi (374 images from 194 patients), and confirmed by histopathological examination, were analyzed in this study. To perform the 2-fold cross validation, we split them into two mutually exclusive subsets: half of the total image dataset was selected for training and the rest for testing, and we calculated the accuracy of diagnosis comparing it with the dermatologist's and non-expert's evaluation.

Results: The accuracy (percentage of true positive and true negative from all images) of the convolutional neural network was 83.51% and 80.23%, which was higher than the non-expert's evaluation (67.84%, 62.71%) and close to that of the expert (81.08%, 81.64%). Moreover, the convolutional neural network showed area-under-the-curve values like 0.8, 0.84 and Youden's index like 0.6795, 0.6073, which were similar score with the expert.

Conclusion: Although further data analysis is necessary to improve their accuracy, convolutional neural networks would be helpful to detect acral melanoma from dermoscopy images of the hands and feet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dermoscopy / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Foot / diagnostic imaging
  • Foot / pathology
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology

Grants and funding

This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea, No. 2013R1A2A2A04015894, to Kee-Yang Chung (; National Research Foundation of Korea, NRF-2017R1D1A1B03033288, to Sang Wook Lee; and National Research Foundation of Korea, NRF-2015M3A9A7029725, to Sejung Yang. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.