Radiomic biomarkers from chest computed tomography are assistive in immunotherapy response prediction for non-small cell lung cancer

Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2023 May 31;12(5):1023-1033. doi: 10.21037/tlcr-22-763. Epub 2023 May 11.


Background: Immunotherapies, such as programmed death 1/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) antibodies have been shown to improve overall and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, not all patients derive a meaningful clinical benefit. Additionally, patients receiving anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy can experience immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Clinically significant irAEs may require temporary pause or discontinuation of treatment. Having a tool to identify patients who may not benefit and/or are at risk for developing severe irAEs from immunotherapy will aid in an informed decision-making process for the patients and their physicians.

Methods: Computed tomography (CT) scans and clinical data were retrospectively collected for this study to develop three prediction models using (I) radiomic features, (II) clinical features, and (III) radiomic and clinical features combined. Each subject had 6 clinical features and 849 radiomic features extracted. Selected features were run through an artificial neural network (NN) trained on 70% of the cohort, maintaining the case and control ratio. The NN was assessed by calculating the area-under-the-receiver-operating-characteristic curve (AUC-ROC), area-under-the-precision-recall curve (AUC-PR), sensitivity, and specificity.

Results: A cohort of 132 subjects, of which 43 (33%) had a PFS ≤90 days and 89 (67%) of which had a PFS >90 days was used to develop the prediction models. The radiomic model was able to predict progression-free survival with a training AUC-ROC of 87% and testing AUC-ROC, sensitivity, and specificity of 83%, 75%, and 81%, respectively. In this cohort, the clinical and radiomic combined features did add a slight increase in the specificity (85%) but with a decrease in sensitivity (75%) and AUC-ROC (81%).

Conclusions: Whole lung segmentation and feature extraction can identify those that would see a benefit from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy.

Keywords: Therapy response; computed tomography; machine learning; pneumonitis; progression-free survival.