Variations in electrical impedance over frequency might be used to distinguish basal cell carcinoma (BCC) from benign skin lesions, although the patterns that separate the two are nonobvious. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) may be good pattern classifiers for this application. A preliminary study to show the potential of neural networks to distinguish benign from malignant skin lesions using electrical impedance is presented. Electrical impedance was measured in vivo from 1 kHz to 1 MHz at five virtual depths on 18 BCC and 16 benign or premalignant lesions. A feed-forward neural network was trained using back propagation to classify these lesions. Two methods of preprocessing were used to account for the impedance of normal skin and the size of the lesion, one based on estimating the impedance of the lesion relative to adjacent normal skin and one based on estimating the impedance of the lesion independent of size or surrounding normal skin. Neural networks were able to classify measurements in a test set with 100% accuracy for the first preprocessing technique and 85% accuracy for the second. These results indicate electrical impedance may be a promising clinical diagnostic tool for basal cell carcinoma or other forms of skin cancer.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department


Third Department

Computer Science

Keywords and Phrases

1 KHz to 1 MHz; Back Propagation; Basal Cell Carcinoma; Benign Skin Lesions; Bioelectric Phenomena; Biology Computing; Cancer; Cellular Biophysics; Clinical Diagnostic Tool; Electric Impedance Imaging; Electrical Impedance; Feed-Forward Neural Network; Feedforward Neural Nets; Malignant Skin Lesions; Premalignant Lesions; Preprocessing Technique; Skin; Skin Cancer; Tumours

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2004 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2004