Harmonization Strategies in Multicenter MRI-Based Radiomics

J Imaging. 2022 Nov 7;8(11):303. doi: 10.3390/jimaging8110303.


Radiomics analysis is a powerful tool aiming to provide diagnostic and prognostic patient information directly from images that are decoded into handcrafted features, comprising descriptors of shape, size and textural patterns. Although radiomics is gaining momentum since it holds great promise for accelerating digital diagnostics, it is susceptible to bias and variation due to numerous inter-patient factors (e.g., patient age and gender) as well as inter-scanner ones (different protocol acquisition depending on the scanner center). A variety of image and feature based harmonization methods has been developed to compensate for these effects; however, to the best of our knowledge, none of these techniques has been established as the most effective in the analysis pipeline so far. To this end, this review provides an overview of the challenges in optimizing radiomics analysis, and a concise summary of the most relevant harmonization techniques, aiming to provide a thorough guide to the radiomics harmonization process.

Keywords: MRI; batch effect; feature harmonization; feature stability; image harmonization; multicenter studies; radiomics; standardization; variability.

Publication types

  • Review