Deep Learning for Diagnostic Binary Classification of Multiple-Lesion Skin Diseases

Kenneth Thomsen*, Anja Liljedahl Christensen, Lars Iversen, Hans Bredsted Lomholt, Ole Winther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Background: Diagnosis of skin diseases is often challenging and computer-aided diagnostic tools are urgently needed to underpin decision making. Objective: To develop a convolutional neural network model to classify clinically relevant selected multiple-lesion skin diseases, this in accordance to the STARD guidelines. Methods: This was an image-based retrospective study using multi-task learning for binary classification. A VGG-16 model was trained on 16,543 non-standardized images. Image data was distributed in training set (80%), validation set (10%), and test set (10%). All images were collected from a clinical database of a Danish population attending one dermatological department. Included was patients categorized with ICD-10 codes related to acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and cutaneous t-cell lymphoma. Results: Acne was distinguished from rosacea with a sensitivity of 85.42% CI 72.24–93.93% and a specificity of 89.53% CI 83.97–93.68%, cutaneous t-cell lymphoma was distinguished from eczema with a sensitivity of 74.29% CI 67.82–80.05% and a specificity of 84.09% CI 80.83–86.99%, and psoriasis from eczema with a sensitivity of 81.79% CI 78.51–84.76% and a specificity of 73.57% CI 69.76–77.13%. All results were based on the test set. Conclusion: The performance rates reported were equal or superior to those reported for general practitioners with dermatological training, indicating that computer-aided diagnostic models based on convolutional neural network may potentially be employed for diagnosing multiple-lesion skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number574329
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2020


  • Acne
  • Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL)
  • Deep neural network (DNN)
  • Dermatology
  • Ezcema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Skin disease


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