Objective: Over the past decades, many studies have used data mining technology to predict the 5-year survival rate of colorectal cancer, but there have been few reports that compared multiple data mining algorithms to the TNM classification of malignant tumors (TNM) staging system using a dataset in which the training and testing data were from different sources. Here we compared nine data mining algorithms to the TNM staging system for colorectal survival analysis.
Methods: Two different datasets were used: 1) the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results dataset; and 2) the dataset from a single Chinese institution. An optimization and prediction system based on nine data mining algorithms as well as two variable selection methods was implemented. The TNM staging system was based on the 7(th) edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM staging system.
Results: When the training and testing data were from the same sources, all algorithms had slight advantages over the TNM staging system in predictive accuracy. When the data were from different sources, only four algorithms (logistic regression, general regression neural network, bayesian networks, and Naïve Bayes) had slight advantages over the TNM staging system. Also, there was no significant differences among all the algorithms (p>0.05).
Conclusions: The TNM staging system is simple and practical at present, and data mining methods are not accurate enough to replace the TNM staging system for colorectal cancer survival prediction. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in the predictive accuracy of all the algorithms when the data were from different sources. Building a larger dataset that includes more variables may be important for furthering predictive accuracy.