Radiomics and artificial intelligence for soft-tissue sarcomas: Current status and perspectives

Diagn Interv Imaging. 2023 Dec;104(12):567-583. doi: 10.1016/j.diii.2023.09.005. Epub 2023 Oct 4.


This article proposes a summary of the current status of the research regarding the use of radiomics and artificial intelligence to improve the radiological assessment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas (STS), a heterogeneous group of rare and ubiquitous mesenchymal malignancies. After a first part explaining the principle of radiomics approaches, from raw image post-processing to extraction of radiomics features mined with unsupervised and supervised machine-learning algorithms, and the current research involving deep learning algorithms in STS, especially convolutional neural networks, this review details their main research developments since the formalisation of 'radiomics' in oncologic imaging in 2010. This review focuses on CT and MRI and does not involve ultrasonography. Radiomics and deep radiomics have been successfully applied to develop predictive models to discriminate between benign soft-tissue tumors and STS, to predict the histologic grade (i.e., the most important prognostic marker of STS), the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, and the patients' survivals and probability for presenting distant metastases. The main findings, limitations and expectations are discussed for each of these outcomes. Overall, after a first decade of publications emphasizing the potential of radiomics through retrospective proof-of-concept studies, almost all positive but with heterogeneous and often non-replicable methods, radiomics is now at a turning point in order to provide robust demonstrations of its clinical impact through open-science, independent databases, and application of good and standardized practices in radiomics such as those provided by the Image Biomarker Standardization Initiative, without forgetting innovative research paths involving other '-omics' data to better understand the relationships between imaging of STS, gene-expression profiles and tumor microenvironment.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Magnetic resonance imaging; Radiomics; Soft-tissue sarcomas; Soft-tissue tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcoma* / pathology
  • Sarcoma* / therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment