An expert system for the early detection of melanoma using knowledge-based image analysis

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Melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer; however, nearly all patients can be saved and cured by early detection and prompt surgical treatment. It has been demonstrated that the major diagnostic and prognostic parameters of melanoma are the vertical thickness, three-dimensional (3D) size and shape, and color of the lesion. The other characteristic features of early melanoma are irregularities in the boundary of the lesion and the appearance of nonuniform pigmentation (with a variety of color). During early stages of development of the melanoma, the changes in these parameters are very difficult to assess since no good tool exists for measuring them in situ and analyzing them for malignancy. A novel optical instrument called the 'Nevoscope' has been developed to obtain multiple views of the transilluminated skin lesion from several angles. These views have been used to measure the thickness and 3D size of the skin lesion without excision. A knowledge-based image analysis and interpretation system is being developed to analyze images of the skin lesion for a set of diagnostic and prognostic features: thickness, 3D size, color and margin, boundary and surface characteristics. This analysis combined with the patient's history, such as occurrence of melanoma or dysplastic nevi in the family, life style, skin type, etc., is used by the knowledge-based expert system to detect early or potentially malignant lesions. The diagnostic and prognostic knowledge bases for the early detection of melanoma are being developed with the help of expert dermatologists and published case studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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