Non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis: a comparison between dermoscopic and smartphone images by unified visual and sonification deep learning algorithms

A. Dascalu, B. N. Walker, Y. Oron, E. O. David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most frequent keratinocyte-origin skin tumor. It is confirmed that dermoscopy of NMSC confers a diagnostic advantage as compared to visual face-to-face assessment. COVID-19 restrictions diagnostics by telemedicine photos, which are analogous to visual inspection, displaced part of in-person visits. This study evaluated by a dual convolutional neural network (CNN) performance metrics in dermoscopic (DI) versus smartphone-captured images (SI) and tested if artificial intelligence narrows the proclaimed gap in diagnostic accuracy. Methods: A CNN that receives a raw image and predicts malignancy, overlaid by a second independent CNN which processes a sonification (image-to-sound mapping) of the original image, were combined into a unified malignancy classifier. All images were histopathology-verified in a comparison between NMSC and benign skin lesions excised as suspected NMSCs. Study criteria outcomes were sensitivity and specificity for the unified output. Results: Images acquired by DI (n = 132 NMSC, n = 33 benign) were compared to SI (n = 170 NMSC, n = 28 benign). DI and SI analysis metrics resulted in an area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.911 and 0.821, respectively. Accuracy was increased by DI (0.88; CI 81.9–92.4) as compared to SI (0.75; CI 68.1–80.6, p < 0.005). Sensitivity of DI was higher than SI (95.3%, CI 90.4–98.3 vs 75.3%, CI 68.1–81.6, p < 0.001), but not specificity (p = NS). Conclusion: Telemedicine use of smartphone images might result in a substantial decrease in diagnostic performance as compared to dermoscopy, which needs to be considered by both healthcare providers and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2497-2505
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Volume148
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Deep learning
  • Dermoscopy
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Preventive medicine
  • Sonification
  • Telemedicine

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