Prostate cancer radiomics and the promise of radiogenomics

Transl Cancer Res. 2016 Aug;5(4):432-447. doi: 10.21037/tcr.2016.06.20.


Prostate cancer exhibits intra-tumoral heterogeneity that we hypothesize to be the leading confounding factor contributing to the underperformance of the current pre-treatment clinical-pathological and genomic assessment. These limitations impose an urgent need to develop better computational tools to identify men with low risk of prostate cancer versus others that may be at risk for developing metastatic cancer. The patient stratification will directly translate to patient treatments, wherein decisions regarding active surveillance or intensified therapy are made. Multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) provides the platform to investigate tumor heterogeneity by mapping the individual tumor habitats. We hypothesize that quantitative assessment (radiomics) of these habitats results in distinct combinations of descriptors that reveal regions with different physiologies and phenotypes. Radiogenomics, a discipline connecting tumor morphology described by radiomic and its genome described by the genomic data, has the potential to derive "radio phenotypes" that both correlate to and complement existing validated genomic risk stratification biomarkers. In this article we first describe the radiomic pipeline, tailored for analysis of prostate mpMRI, and in the process we introduce our particular implementations of radiomics modules. We also summarize the efforts in the radiomics field related to prostate cancer diagnosis and assessment of aggressiveness. Finally, we describe our results from radiogenomic analysis, based on mpMRI-Ultrasound (MRI-US) biopsies and discuss the potential of future applications of this technique. The mpMRI radiomics data indicate that the platform would significantly improve the biopsy targeting of prostate habitats through better recognition of indolent versus aggressive disease, thereby facilitating a more personalized approach to prostate cancer management. The expectation to non-invasively identify habitats with high probability of housing aggressive cancers would result in directed biopsies that are more informative and actionable. Conversely, providing evidence for lack of disease would reduce the incidence of non-informative biopsies. In radiotherapy of prostate cancer, dose escalation has been shown to reduce biochemical failure. Dose escalation only to determinate prostate habitats has the potential to improve tumor control with less toxicity than when the entire prostate is dose escalated.

Keywords: MRI-targeted biopsies; Prostate cancer; Radiogenomics; gene expression; multiparametric MRI; radiomics.