Due to its increasing incidence, skin cancer, and especially melanoma, is a serious health disease today. The high mortality rate associated with melanoma makes it necessary to detect the early stages to be treated urgently and properly. This is the reason why many researchers in this domain wanted to obtain accurate computer-aided diagnosis systems to assist in the early detection and diagnosis of such diseases. The paper presents a systematic review of recent advances in an area of increased interest for cancer prediction, with a focus on a comparative perspective of melanoma detection using artificial intelligence, especially neural network-based systems. Such structures can be considered intelligent support systems for dermatologists. Theoretical and applied contributions were investigated in the new development trends of multiple neural network architecture, based on decision fusion. The most representative articles covering the area of melanoma detection based on neural networks, published in journals and impact conferences, were investigated between 2015 and 2021, focusing on the interval 2018–2021 as new trends. Additionally presented are the main databases and trends in their use in teaching neural networks to detect melanomas. Finally, a research agenda was highlighted to advance the field towards the new trends.
Any cancer type is one of the leading death causes around the world. Skin cancer is a condition where malignant cells are formed in the tissues of the skin, such as melanoma, known as the most aggressive and deadly skin cancer type. The mortality rates of melanoma are associated with its high potential for metastasis in later stages, spreading to other body sites such as the lungs, bones, or the brain. Thus, early detection and diagnosis are closely related to survival rates. Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems carry out a pre-diagnosis of a skin lesion based on clinical criteria or global patterns associated with its structure. A CAD system is essentially composed by three modules: (i) lesion segmentation, (ii) feature extraction, and (iii) classification. In this work, a methodology is proposed for a CAD system development that detects global patterns using texture descriptors based on statistical measurements that allow melanoma detection from dermoscopic images. Image analysis was carried out using spatial domain methods, statistical measurements were used for feature extraction, and a classifier based on cellular automata (ACA) was used for classification. The proposed model was applied to dermoscopic images obtained from the PH2 database, and it was compared with other models using accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity as metrics. With the proposed model, values of 0.978, 0.944, and 0.987 of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity, respectively, were obtained. The results of the evaluated metrics show that the proposed method is more effective than other state-of-the-art methods for melanoma detection in dermoscopic images.
Melanoma is visible unlike other types of cancer, but it is still challenging to diagnose correctly because of the difficulty in distinguishing between benign nevus and melanoma. We conducted a robust investigation of melanoma, identifying considerable differences in local elastic properties between nevus and melanoma tissues by using atomic force microscopy (AFM) indentation of histological specimens. Specifically, the histograms of the elasticity of melanoma displayed multimodal Gaussian distributions, exhibiting the heterogeneous mechanical properties, in contrast with the unimodal distributions of elasticity in the benign nevus. We identified this notable signature was consistent regardless of blotch incidence by sex, age, anatomical site (e.g., thigh, calf, arm, eyelid, and cheek), or cancer stage (I, IV, and V). In addition, we found that the non-linearity of the force-distance curves for melanoma is increased compared to benign nevus. We believe that AFM indentation of histological specimens may technically complement conventional histopathological analysis for earlier and more precise melanoma detection.