A Model-Strengthened Imaging Biomarker for Survival Prediction in EGFR-Mutated Non-small-cell Lung Carcinoma Patients Treated with Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Bull Math Biol. 2021 May 8;83(6):68. doi: 10.1007/s11538-021-00902-7.


Non-small-cell lung carcinoma is a frequent type of lung cancer with a bad prognosis. Depending on the stage and genomics, several therapeutical approaches are used. Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKI) may be successful for a time in the treatment of EGFR-mutated non-small cells lung carcinoma. Our objective is here to introduce a survival assessment as their efficacy in the long run is challenging to evaluate. The study includes 17 patients diagnosed with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer and exposed to an EGFR-targeting TKI with 3 computed tomography (CT) scans of the primary tumor (one before the TKI introduction and two after). An imaging biomarker based on evolution of texture heterogeneity between the first and the third exams is derived and computed from a mathematical model and patient data. Defining the overall survival as the time between the introduction of the TKI treatment and the patient death, we obtain a statistically significant correlation between the overall survival and our imaging marker ([Formula: see text]). Using the ROC curve, the patients are separated into two populations and the comparison of the survival curves is statistically significant ([Formula: see text]). The baseline exam seems to have a significant role in the prediction of response to TKI treatment. More precisely, our imaging biomarker defined using only the CT scan before the TKI introduction allows to determine a first classification of the population which is improved over time using the imaging marker as soon as more CT scans are available. This exploratory study leads us to think that it is possible to obtain a survival assessment using only few CT scans of the primary tumor.

Keywords: EGFR; Imaging biomarker; Mathematical modeling; Survival assessment; TKI.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors