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In IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics

Owing to the high incidence rate and the severe impact of skin cancer, the precise diagnosis of malignant skin tumors is a significant goal, especially considering treatment is normally effective if the tumor is detected early. Limited published histopathological image sets and the lack of an intuitive correspondence between the features of lesion areas and a certain type of skin cancer pose a challenge to the establishment of high-quality and interpretable computer-aided diagnostic (CAD) systems. To solve this problem, a light-weight attention mechanism-based deep learning framework, namely, DRANet, is proposed to differentiate 11 types of skin diseases based on a real histopathological image set collected by us during the last 10 years. The CAD system can output not only the name of a certain disease but also a visualized diagnostic report showing possible areas related to the disease. The experimental results demonstrate that the DRANet obtains significantly better performance than baseline models (i.e., InceptionV3, ResNet50, VGG16, and VGG19) with comparable parameter size and competitive accuracy with fewer model parameters. Visualized results produced by the hidden layers of the DRANet actually highlight part of the class-specific regions of diagnostic points and are valuable for decision making in the diagnosis of skin diseases.

Jiang Shancheng, Li Huichuan, Jin Zhi