Radiomics outperforms clinical factors in characterizing human papilloma virus (HPV) for patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas

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Biomed Phys Eng Express


Purpose: To utilize radiomic features extracted from CT images to characterize Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) for patients with oropharyngeal cancer squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC).

Methods: One hundred twenty-eight OPSCC patients with known HPV-status (60-HPV+ and 68-HPV-, confirmed by immunohistochemistry-P16-protein testing) were retrospectively studied. Radiomic features (11 feature-categories) were extracted in 3D from contrast-enhanced (CE)-CT images of gross-tumor-volumes using 'in-house' software ('ROdiomiX') developed and validated following the image-biomarker-standardization-initiative (IBSI) guidelines. Six clinical factors were investigated: Age-at-Diagnosis, Gender, Total-Charlson, Alcohol-Use, Smoking-History, and T-Stage. A Least-Absolute-Shrinkage-and-Selection-Operation (Lasso) technique combined with a Generalized-Linear-Model (Lasso-GLM) were applied to perform regularization in the radiomic and clinical feature spaces to identify the ranking of optimal feature subsets with most representative information for prediction of HPV. Lasso-GLM models/classifiers based on clinical factors only, radiomics only, and combined clinical and radiomics (ensemble/integrated) were constructed using random-permutation-sampling. Tests of significance (One-way ANOVA), average Area-Under-Receiver-Operating-Characteristic (AUC), and Positive and Negative Predictive values (PPV and NPV) were computed to estimate the generalization-error and prediction performance of the classifiers.

Results: Five clinical factors, including T-stage, smoking status, and age, and 14 radiomic features, including tumor morphology, and intensity contrast were found to be statistically significant discriminators between HPV positive and negative cohorts. Performances for prediction of HPV for the 3 classifiers were: Radiomics-Lasso-GLM: AUC/PPV/NPV=0.789/0.755/0.805; Clinical-Lasso-GLM: 0.676/0.747/0.672, and Integrated/Ensemble-Lasso-GLM: 0.895/0.874/0.844. Results imply that the radiomics-based classifier enabled better characterization and performance prediction of HPV relative to clinical factors, and that the combination of both radiomics and clinical factors yields even higher accuracy characterization and predictive performance.

Conclusion: Albeit subject to confirmation in a larger cohort, this pilot study presents encouraging results in support of the role of radiomic features towards characterization of HPV in patients with OPSCC.

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ePub ahead of print