Combining Radiomics and Blood Test Biomarkers to Predict the Response of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer to Chemoradiation

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Background/Aim: A noninvasive method for predicting a patient's response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) for locally advanced rectal cancer would be useful because this would help determine the subsequent treatment strategy. Two types of noninvasive biomarkers have previously been studied, based on radiomics and based on blood test parameters. We hypothesized that a combination of both types would provide a better predictive power, and this has not previously been investigated. Patients and Methods: Data from 135 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who underwent nCRT were retrospectively allocated into training and validation cohorts in a 2:1 ratio. Sixty-five radiomics features were extracted from tumors segmented on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images. An elastic net was applied to generate four models for discerning the patients with good responses to nCRT based on radiomics features (model R), blood biomarkers (model B), both (model RB), and a linear combination of models R and B (model R+B). Results: Among 65 radiomics features, 17 were selected as robust features for model development. The AUC values of model R, model B, model RB, and model R+B achieved 0.751, 0.627, 0.785, and 0.711 in the training cohort (n=90), and 0.705, 0.603, 0.679, and 0.705 in validation cohort (n=45), respectively. In the entire cohort, models RB and R+B demonstrated a significantly better performance than model B but not R. There was no correlation between the scores of models R and B (p=0.76). Radiomics features had a greater influence than blood biomarkers on models RB and R+B. Conclusion: A non-redundancy between radiomics features and blood-based biomarkers was observed. Furthermore, radiomics features are more valuable in terms of predicting response to nCRT. The importance of combining noninvasive biomarkers in future investigations is highlighted.
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IN VIVO, v.34, no.5, pp.2955 - 2965

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