16 September 2020
Annual Meeting of the Bioinformatics Italian Society (BITS 2019) (BITS 2019)
26-28 June 2019
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is increasingly utilized in radiomics studies for treatment evaluation purposes. Nevertheless, lesion volume identification in PET images is a critical and still challenging step in the process of radiomics, due to the low spatial resolution and high noise level of PET images. Currently, the biological target volume (BTV) is manually contoured by nuclear physicians, with a time expensive and operator-dependent procedure.
This study aims to obtain BTVs from cerebral metastases in patients who underwent L-[ 11C]methionine (11C-MET) PET, using a fully automatic procedure and to use these BTVs to extract radiomics features to stratify between patients who respond to treatment or not. For these purposes, 31 brain metastases, for predictive evaluation, and 25 ones, for follow-up evaluation after treatment, were delineated using the proposed method. Successively, 11C-MET PET studies and related volumetric segmentations were used to extract 108 features to investigate the potential application of radiomics analysis in patients with brain metastases. A novel statistical system has been implemented for feature reduction and selection, while discriminant analysis was used as a method for feature classification.
For predictive evaluation, 3 features (asphericity, low-intensity run emphasis, and complexity) were able to discriminate between responder and non-responder patients, after feature reduction and selection. Best performance in patient discrimination was obtained using the combination of the three selected features (sensitivity 81.23%, specificity 73.97%, and accuracy 78.27%) compared to the use of all features. Secondly, for follow-up evaluation, 8 features (SUV mean, SUL peak, SUV min, SUL peak prod-surface-area, SUV mean prod-sphericity, surface mean SUV 3, SUL peak prod-sphericity, and second angular moment) were selected with optimal performance in discriminant analysis classification (sensitivity 86.28%, specificity 87.75%, and accuracy 86.57%) outperforming the use of all features.
The proposed system is able i) to extract 108 features for each automatically segmented lesion and ii) to select a sub-panel of 11C-MET PET features (3 and 8 in the case of predictive and follow-up evaluation), with valuable association with patient outcome. We believe that our model can be useful to improve treatment response and prognosis evaluation, potentially allowing the personalization of cancer treatment plans.