Background: Magnetic Resonance Image guided Stereotactic body radiotherapy (MRgRT) is an emerging technology that is increasingly used in treatment of visceral cancers, such as pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Given the variable response rates and short progression times of PDAC, there is an unmet clinical need for a method to assess early RT response that may allow better prescription personalization. We hypothesize that quantitative image feature analysis (radiomics) of the longitudinal MR scans acquired before and during MRgRT may be used to extract information related to early treatment response.
Methods: Histogram and texture radiomic features (n = 73) were extracted from the Gross Tumor Volume (GTV) in 0.35T MRgRT scans of 26 locally advanced and borderline resectable PDAC patients treated with 50 Gy RT in 5 fractions. Feature ratios between first (F1) and last (F5) fraction scan were correlated with progression free survival (PFS). Feature stability was assessed through region of interest (ROI) perturbation.
Results: Linear normalization of image intensity to median kidney value showed improved reproducibility of feature quantification. Histogram skewness change during treatment showed significant association with PFS (p = 0.005, HR = 2.75), offering a potential predictive biomarker of RT response. Stability analyses revealed a wide distribution of feature sensitivities to ROI delineation and was able to identify features that were robust to variability in contouring.
Conclusions: This study presents a proof-of-concept for the use of quantitative image analysis in MRgRT for treatment response prediction and providing an analysis pipeline that can be utilized in future MRgRT radiomic studies.
© 2021. The Author(s).