To investigate whether quantifying local tumour heterogeneity has added benefit compared to global tumour features to predict response to chemoradiotherapy using pre-treatment multiparametric PET and MRI data.
Sixty-one locally advanced rectal cancer patients treated with chemoradiotherapy and staged at baseline with MRI and FDG-PET/CT were retrospectively analyzed. Whole-tumour volumes were segmented on the MRI and PET/CT scans from which global tumour features (T2Wvolume/T2Wentropy/ADCmean/SUVmean/TLG/CTmean-HU) and local texture features (histogram features derived from local entropy/mean/standard deviation maps) were calculated. These respective feature sets were combined with clinical baseline parameters (e.g. age/gender/TN-stage) to build multivariable prediction models to predict a good (Mandard TRG1-2) versus poor (Mandard TRG3-5) response to chemoradiotherapy. Leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV) with bootstrapping was performed to estimate performance in an 'independent' dataset.
When using only imaging features, local texture features showed an AUC = 0.81 versus AUC = 0.74 for global tumour features. After internal cross-validation (LOOCV), AUC to predict a good response was the highest for the combination of clinical baseline variables + global tumour features (AUC = 0.83), compared to AUC = 0.79 for baseline + local texture and AUC = 0.76 for all combined (baseline + global + local texture).
In imaging-based prediction models, local texture analysis has potential added value compared to global tumour features to predict response. However, when combined with clinical baseline parameters such as cTN-stage, the added value of local texture analysis appears to be limited. The overall performance to predict response when combining baseline variables with quantitative imaging parameters is promising and warrants further research.
• Quantification of local tumour texture on pre-therapy FDG-PET/CT and MRI has potential added value compared to global tumour features to predict response to chemoradiotherapy in rectal cancer. • However, when combined with clinical baseline parameters such as cTN-stage, the added value of local texture over global tumour features is limited. • Predictive performance of our optimal model-combining clinical baseline variables with global quantitative tumour features-was encouraging (AUC 0.83), warranting further research in this direction on a larger scale.