Pre-treatment magnetic resonance-based texture features as potential imaging biomarkers for predicting event free survival in anal cancer treated by chemoradiotherapy

Eur Radiol. 2018 Jul;28(7):2801-2811. doi: 10.1007/s00330-017-5284-z. Epub 2018 Feb 5.


Aim: To assess regular MRI findings and tumour texture features on pre-CRT imaging as potential predictive factors of event-free survival (disease progression or death) after chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for anal squamous cell carcinoma (ASCC) without metastasis.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively included 28 patients treated by CRT for pathologically proven ASCC with a pre-CRT MRI. Texture analysis was carried out with axial T2W images by delineating a 3D region of interest around the entire tumour volume. First-order analysis by quantification of the histogram was carried out. Second-order statistical texture features were derived from the calculation of the grey-level co-occurrence matrix using a distance of 1 (d1), 2 (d2) and 5 (d5) pixels. Prognostic factors were assessed by Cox regression and performance of the model by the Harrell C-index.

Results: Eight tumour progressions led to six tumour-specific deaths. After adjusting for age, gender and tumour grade, skewness (HR = 0.131, 95% CI = 0-0.447, p = 0.005) and cluster shade_d1 (HR = 0.601, 95% CI = 0-0.861, p = 0.027) were associated with event occurrence. The corresponding Harrell C-indices were 0.846, 95% CI = 0.697-0.993, and 0.851, 95% CI = 0.708-0.994.

Conclusion: ASCC MR texture analysis provides prognostic factors of event occurrence and requires additional studies to assess its potential in an "individual dose" strategy for ASCC chemoradiation therapy.

Key points: • MR texture features help to identify tumours with high progression risk. • Texture feature maps help to identify intra-tumoral heterogeneity. • Texture features are a better prognostic factor than regular MR findings.

Keywords: Anal squamous cell carcinoma; Definitive chemoradiotherapy; Imaging biomarkers; Magnetic resonance imaging; Texture analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anus Neoplasms / mortality
  • Anus Neoplasms / pathology
  • Anus Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods*
  • Chemoradiotherapy / mortality
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden