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Incorporating clinical metadata with digital image features for automated identification of cutaneous melanoma

Liu, Zhao; Sun, Jiuai; Smith, Melvyn; Smith, Lyndon


Zhao Liu

Jiuai Sun

Profile Image

Melvyn Smith
Research Centre Director Vision Lab/Prof

Lyndon Smith
Professor in Computer Simulation and Machine


Background Computer-assisted diagnosis (CAD) of malignant melanoma (MM) has been advocated to help clinicians in achieving a more objective and reliable assessment. However,
conventional CAD systems only examine the features extracted from digital photographs of lesions. Failure to incorporate patient personal information constrains their applicability in clinical settings.
Objectives To develop a new CAD system to improve the performance of automatic diagnosis of melanoma which, for the first time, incorporates lesion digital features with
important patient metadata into learning process.
Methods Thirty-two features are extracted from digital photographs to characterise skin lesions. Patient personal information like age, gender, lesion site and their combinations are quantified as metadata. The integration of digital features and metadata is realised through an
extended Laplacian Eigenmap, a dimensionality reduction method grouping lesions with similar digital features and metadata into the same classes.
Results The diagnosis is 82.14% sensitivity and 86.07% specificity, when only multidimensional digital features are used; while the results are significantly improved to
95.25% sensitivity and 90.96% specificity respectively, after metadata are incorporated appropriately. The proposed system achieves a level of sensitivity comparable to experienced dermatologists aided by conventional dermoscopes. This demonstrates the potential of our
method for assisting clinicians in diagnosing melanoma, and the benefit it could provide to patients and hospitals by greatly reducing unnecessary excision of benign naevi.
Conclusions This paper proposes an enhanced CAD system by incorporating clinical metadata in the learning process for automatic classification of melanoma. Results demonstrate that the additional metadata and the mechanism to incorporate them are useful for improving computer-assisted diagnosis of melanoma.


Liu, Z., Sun, J., Smith, M., & Smith, L. (2013). Incorporating clinical metadata with digital image features for automated identification of cutaneous melanoma. British Journal of Dermatology,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal British Journal of Dermatology
Print ISSN 0007-0963
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords computer-assisted diagnosis, clinical metadata, digital image analysis, malignant melanoma
Publisher URL