PURPOSE: Aim of this study was to develop a generalised radiomics model for predicting pathological complete response after neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer patients using pre-CRT T2-weighted images acquired at a 1.5 T and a 3 T scanner.
METHODS: In two institutions, 195 patients were scanned: 136 patients were scanned on a 1.5 T MR scanner, 59 patients on a 3 T MR scanner. Gross tumour volumes were delineated on the MR images and 496 radiomic features were extracted, applying the intensity-based (IB) filter. Features were standardised with Z-score normalisation and an initial feature selection was carried out using Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test: The most significant features at 1.5 T and 3 T were selected as main features. Several logistic regression models combining the main features with a third one selected by those resulting significant were elaborated and evaluated in terms of area under curve (AUC). A tenfold cross-validation was repeated 300 times to evaluate the model robustness.
RESULTS: Three features were selected: maximum fractal dimension with IB = 0-50, energy and grey-level non-uniformity calculated on the run-length matrix with IB = 0-50. The AUC of the model applied to the whole dataset after cross-validation was 0.72, while values of 0.70 and 0.83 were obtained when 1.5 T and 3 T patients were considered, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The model elaborated showed good performance, even when data from patients scanned on 1.5 T and 3 T were merged. This shows that magnetic field intensity variability can be overcome by means of selecting appropriate image features.