An MRI-based radiomics model to predict clear cell renal cell carcinoma growth rate classes in patients with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2022 Oct;47(10):3554-3562. doi: 10.1007/s00261-022-03610-5. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Purpose: Upfront knowledge of tumor growth rates of clear cell renal cell carcinoma in von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL) patients can allow for a more personalized approach to either surveillance imaging frequency or surgical planning. In this study, we implement a machine learning algorithm utilizing radiomic features of renal tumors identified on baseline magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in VHL patients to predict the volumetric growth rate category of these tumors.

Materials and methods: A total of 73 VHL patients with 173 pathologically confirmed Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (ccRCCs) underwent MRI at least at two different time points between 2015 and 2021. Each tumor was manually segmented in excretory phase contrast T1 weighed MRI and co-registered on pre-contrast, corticomedullary and nephrographic phases. Radiomic features and volumetric data from each tumor were extracted using the PyRadiomics library in Python (4544 total features). Tumor doubling time (DT) was calculated and patients were divided into two groups: DT < = 1 year and DT > 1 year. Random forest classifier (RFC) was used to predict the DT category. To measure prediction performance, the cohort was randomly divided into 100 training and test sets (80% and 20%). Model performance was evaluated using area under curve of receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC-ROC), as well as accuracy, F1, precision and recall, reported as percentages with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: The average age of patients was 47.2 ± 10.3 years. Mean interval between MRIs for each patient was 1.3 years. Tumors included in this study were categorized into 155 Grade 2; 16 Grade 3; and 2 Grade 4. Mean accuracy of RFC model was 79.0% [67.4-90.6] and mean AUC-ROC of 0.795 [0.608-0.988]. The accuracy for predicting DT classes was not different among the MRI sequences (P-value = 0.56).

Conclusion: Here we demonstrate the utility of machine learning in accurately predicting the renal tumor growth rate category of VHL patients based on radiomic features extracted from different T1-weighted pre- and post-contrast MRI sequences.

Keywords: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma; Radiomics; von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Machine Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease* / complications
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease* / diagnostic imaging