J. Biomedical Science and Engineering, 2010, 3, 576-583 JBiSE
doi:10.4236/jbise.2010.36080 Published Online June 2010 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/jbise/).
A robust system for melanoma diagnosis using heterogeneous
Khaled Taouil1, Zied Chtourou1, Nadra Ben Romdhane2
UR CMERP National Engineering School of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia;
Faculty of Sciences of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia.
Received 5 April 2010; revised 8 May 2010; accepted 15 May 2010.
ABSTRACT Segmentation; Feature Selection; Classification; Generalized
Regression Neural Network
Early diagnosis of melanoma is essential for the fight
against this skin cancer. Many melanoma detection
systems have been developed in recent years. The
growth of interest in telemedicine pushes for the de- Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. The
velopment of offsite CADs. These tools might be used World Health Organization estimates that more than
by general physicians and dermatologists as a second 65000 people a year worldwide die from too much sun,
advice on submission of skin lesion slides via internet. mostly from malignant skin cancer .
They also can be used for indexation in medical con- The five-year survival rate for people whose mela-
tent image base retrieval. A key issue inherent to noma is detected and treated before it spreads to the
these CADs is non-heterogeneity of databases ob- lymph nodes is 99 percent. Five-year survival rates for
tained with different apparatuses and acquisition regional and distant stage melanomas are 65 percent and
techniques and conditions. We hereafter address the 15 percent, respectively . Thus the curability of this
problem of training database heterogeneity by de- type of skin cancer depends essentially on its early di-
veloping a robust methodology for analysis and deci- agnosis and excision.
sion that deals with this problem by accurate choice The ABCD (asymmetry, border, colour and dimension)
of features according to the relevance of their dis- clinical rule is commonly used by dermatologists in visual
criminative attributes for neural network classifica- examination and detection of early melanoma . The
tion. The digitized lesion image is first of all seg- visual recognition by clinical inspection of the lesions by
mented using a hybrid approach based on morpho- dermatologists is 75% . Experienced ones with spe-
logical treatments and active contours. Then, clinical cific training can reach a recognition rate of 80% .
descriptions of malignancy signs are quantified in a Several works has been done on translating knowledge
set of features that summarize the geometric and of expert physicians into a computer program. Computer-
photometric features of the lesion. Sequential for- aided diagnosis (CAD) systems were introduced since
ward selection (SFS) method is applied to this set to 1987 . It has been proved that such CAD systems can
select the most relevant features. A general regres- improve the recognition rate of the nature of a suspect
sion network (GRNN) is then used for the classifica- lesion particularly in medical centres with no experience
tion of lesions. We tested this approach with color in the field of pigmented skin lesions [7,8]. For these
skin lesion images from digitized slides data base se- systems to be efficient, the shots of the suspected lesion
lected by expert dermatologists from the hospital have to be taken using the same type of apparatuses than
“CHU de Rouen-France” and from the hospital the one used for the learning database  and with iden-
“CHU Hédi Chaker de Sfax-Tunisia”. The perform- tical lighting and exposure conditions. This could be-
ance of the system is assessed using the index area come very challenging in the majority of cases.
(Az) of the ROC curve (Receiver Operating Charac- In order to overcome the lack of standardization in
teristic curve). The classification permitted to have stand alone CADs and to provide an open access to der-
an Az score of 89,10%. matologists, web-based melanoma screening systems