SMART Melanoma Study

Our goal is to establish a deep learning computer vision (DLCV) method to triage lesions appropriate for biopsy while providing a platform for increased vigilance of benign lesions.


Regardless of complexion, everyone is at risk for skin cancers. Melanoma is the deadliest form with annual incidence rates increasing, resulting in an estimated 7,300 new cases and 9,000 deaths in the U.S. Melanomas are the most commonly diagnosed cancers among young people ages 14-20. Additionally, reoccurrence rates are high, with more than half of all patients developing new cancers in five years. Elevated recurrence may reflect current treatment options with excisional therapies being predominate, leading to a reticence to remove large margins of skin because of cosmetic concerns. Moreover, multiethnic individuals whose skin tans or is pigmented, underestimate their cancer risk. Inaccurate cancer risk perceptions lead to delayed skin cancer diagnoses. Although ethnic groups with darker skin have a lower incidence, ethnicity is a poor proxy for risk because melanomas are more prevalent and more frequently fatal in ethnic minority groups. Hawaii’s multiethnic populations, who experience year-round ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and therefore higher risks for melanoma, provide a unique opportunity to identify ways to reduce the burden of this disease.

Research Team

Kevin Cassell, DrPH

Principal Investigator

Christopher Lum, MD


Mark Willingham

Graduate Research Assistant

John Shepherd, PhD


Shane Spencer

Graduate Research Assistant