Objectives: To determine if texture analysis of non-contrast-enhanced CT (NECT) images is able to predict nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Methods: NECT images from 88 patients who underwent a liver biopsy for the diagnosis of suspected NASH were assessed and texture feature parameters were obtained without and with filtration. The patient population was divided into a predictive learning dataset and a validation dataset, and further divided into groups according to the prediction of liver fibrosis as assessed by hyaluronic acid levels. The reference standard was the histological result of a liver biopsy. A predictive model for NASH was developed using parameters derived from the learning dataset that demonstrated areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of >0.65. The resulting model was then applied to the validation dataset.
Results: In patients without suspected fibrosis, the texture parameter mean without filter and skewness with a 2-mm filter were selected for the NASH prediction model. The AUC of the predictive model for the validation dataset was 0.94 and the accuracy was 94%. In patients with suspicion of fibrosis, the mean without filtration and kurtosis with a 4-mm filter were selected for the NASH prediction model. The AUC for the validation dataset was 0.60 and the accuracy was 42%.
Conclusions: In patients without suspicion of fibrosis, NECT texture analysis effectively predicted NASH.
Key points: • In patients without suspicion of fibrosis, NECT texture analysis effectively predicted NASH. • The mean without filtration and skewness with a 2-mm filter were modest predictors of NASH in patients without suspicion of liver fibrosis. • Hepatic fibrosis masks the characteristic texture features of NASH.
Keywords: Computed tomography; Fatty liver; Hepatitis; Pattern recognition, Automated; Radiomics.