Prediction of lung malignancy progression and survival with machine learning based on pre-treatment FDG-PET/CT

EBioMedicine. 2022 Aug;82:104127. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104127. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Background: Pre-treatment FDG-PET/CT scans were analyzed with machine learning to predict progression of lung malignancies and overall survival (OS).

Methods: A retrospective review across three institutions identified patients with a pre-procedure FDG-PET/CT and an associated malignancy diagnosis. Lesions were manually and automatically segmented, and convolutional neural networks (CNNs) were trained using FDG-PET/CT inputs to predict malignancy progression. Performance was evaluated using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. Image features were extracted from CNNs and by radiomics feature extraction, and random survival forests (RSF) were constructed to predict OS. Concordance index (C-index) and integrated brier score (IBS) were used to evaluate OS prediction.

Findings: 1168 nodules (n=965 patients) were identified. 792 nodules had progression and 376 were progression-free. The most common malignancies were adenocarcinoma (n=740) and squamous cell carcinoma (n=179). For progression risk, the PET+CT ensemble model with manual segmentation (accuracy=0.790, AUC=0.876) performed similarly to the CT only (accuracy=0.723, AUC=0.888) and better compared to the PET only (accuracy=0.664, AUC=0.669) models. For OS prediction with deep learning features, the PET+CT+clinical RSF ensemble model (C-index=0.737) performed similarly to the CT only (C-index=0.730) and better than the PET only (C-index=0.595), and clinical only (C-index=0.595) models. RSF models constructed with radiomics features had comparable performance to those with CNN features.

Interpretation: CNNs trained using pre-treatment FDG-PET/CT and extracted performed well in predicting lung malignancy progression and OS. OS prediction performance with CNN features was comparable to a radiomics approach. The prognostic models could inform treatment options and improve patient care.

Funding: NIH NHLBI training grant (5T35HL094308-12, John Sollee).

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Deep learning; FDG-PET/CT; Lung cancer; Machine learning; Prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Machine Learning
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography* / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18