Objective: We aimed to improve prediction of outcome for patients with colorectal liver metastases, via prognostic models incorporating PET-derived measures, including radiomic features that move beyond conventional standard uptake value (SUV) measures.
Patients and methods: A range of parameters including volumetric and heterogeneity measures were derived from FDG PET images of 52 patients with colorectal intrahepatic-only metastases (29 males and 23 females; mean age 62.9 years [SD 9.8; range 32-82]). The patients underwent PET/CT imaging as part of the clinical workup prior to final decision on treatment. Univariate and multivariate models were implemented, which included statistical considerations (to discourage false discovery and overfitting), to predict overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS) and event-free survival (EFS). Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed, where the subjects were divided into high-risk and low-risk groups, from which the hazard ratios (HR) were computed via Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: Commonly-invoked SUV metrics performed relatively poorly for different prediction tasks (SUVmax HR = 1.48, 0.83 and 1.16; SUVpeak HR = 2.05, 1.93, and 1.64, for OS, PFS and EFS, respectively). By contrast, the number of liver metastases and metabolic tumor volume (MTV) each performed well (with respective HR values of 2.71, 2.61 and 2.42, and 2.62, 1.96 and 2.29, for OS, PFS and EFS). Total lesion glycolysis (TLG) also resulted in similar performance as MTV. Multivariate prognostic modeling incorporating different features (including those quantifying intra-tumor heterogeneity) resulted in further enhanced prediction. Specifically, HR values of 4.29, 4.02 and 3.20 (p-values = 0.00004, 0.0019 and 0.0002) were obtained for OS, PFS and EFS, respectively.
Conclusions: PET-derived measures beyond commonly invoked SUV parameters hold significant potential towards improved prediction of clinical outcome in patients with liver metastases, especially when utilizing multivariate models.
Keywords: Colorectal liver metastasis; Intra-tumoral heterogeneity; PET/CT; Prognosis; Radiomics; Volumetric features.
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