Acral melanoma detection using a convolutional neural network for dermoscopy images

Chanki Yu, Sejung Yang, Wonoh Kim, Jinwoong Jung, Kee Yang Chung, Sang Wook Lee, Byungho Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0193321
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
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.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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