Can CT texture analysis parameters be used as imaging biomarkers for prediction of malignancy in canine splenic tumors?

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2022 Oct 26. doi: 10.1111/vru.13175. Online ahead of print.


Splenic hemangiosarcoma has morphological similarities to benign nodular hyperplasia. Computed tomography (CT) texture analysis can analyze the texture of images that the naive human eye cannot detect. Recently, there have been attempts to incorporate CT texture analysis with artificial intelligence in human medicine. This retrospective, analytical design study aimed to assess the feasibility of CT texture analysis in splenic masses and investigate predictive biomarkers of splenic hemangiosarcoma in dogs. Parameters for dogs with hemangiosarcoma and nodular hyperplasia were compared, and an independent parameter that could differentiate between them was selected. Discriminant analysis was performed to assess the ability to discriminate the two splenic masses and compare the relative importance of the parameters. A total of 23 dogs were sampled, including 16 splenic nodular hyperplasia and seven hemangiosarcoma. In each dog, total 38 radiomic parameters were extracted from first-, second-, and higher-order matrices. Thirteen parameters had significant differences between hemangiosarcoma and nodular hyperplasia. Skewness in the first-order matrix and GLRLM_LGRE and GLZLM_ZLNU in the second, higher-order matrix were determined as independent parameters. A discriminant equation consisting of skewness, GLZLM_LGZE, and GLZLM_ZLNU was derived, and the cross-validation verification result showed an accuracy of 95.7%. Skewness was the most influential parameter for the discrimination of the two masses. The study results supported using CT texture analysis to help differentiate hemangiosarcoma from nodular hyperplasia in dogs. This new diagnostic approach can be used for developing future machine learning-based texture analysis tools.

Keywords: AI; CT; heterogeneity; splenic mass; texture; veterinary medicine.