Identification of the most significant magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) radiomic features in oncological patients with vertebral bone marrow metastatic disease: a feasibility study

Laura Filograna, Jacopo Lenkowicz, Francesco Cellini, Nicola Dinapoli, Stefania Manfrida, Nicola Magarelli, Antonio Leone, Cesare Colosimo, Vincenzo Valentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Recently, radiomic analysis has gained attention as a valuable instrument for the management of oncological patients. The aim of the study is to isolate which features of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based radiomic analysis have to be considered the most significant predictors of metastasis in oncological patients with spinal bone marrow metastatic disease. Materials and methods: Eight oncological patients (3 lung cancer; 1 prostatic cancer; 1 esophageal cancer; 1 nasopharyngeal cancer; 1 hepatocarcinoma; 1 breast cancer) with pre-radiotherapy MR imaging for a total of 58 dorsal vertebral bodies, 29 metastatic and 29 non-metastatic were included. Each vertebral body was contoured in T1 and T2 weighted images at a radiotherapy delineation console. The obtained data were transferred to an automated data extraction system for morphological, statistical and textural analysis. Eighty-nine features for each lesion in both T1 and T2 images were computed as the median of by-slice values. A Wilcoxon test was applied to the 89 features and the most statistically significant of them underwent to a stepwise feature selection, to find the best performing predictors of metastasis in a logistic regression model. An internal cross-validation via bootstrap was conducted for estimating the model performance in terms of the area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic. Results: Of the 89 textural features tested, 16 were found to differ with statistical significance in the metastatic vs non-metastatic group. The best performing model was constituted by two predictors for T1 and T2 images, namely one morphological feature (center of mass shift) (p value < 0.01) for both datasets and one histogram feature minimum grey level (p value < 0.01) for T1 images and one textural feature (grey-level co-occurrence matrix joint variance (p value < 0.01) for T2 images. The internal cross-validation showed an AUC of 0.8141 (95% CI 0.6854–0.9427) in T1 images and 0.9116 (95% CI 0.8294–0.9937) in T2 images. Conclusions: The results suggest that MRI-based radiomic analysis on oncological patients with bone marrow metastatic disease is able to differentiate between metastatic and non-metastatic vertebral bodies. The most significant predictors of metastasis were found to be based on T2 sequence and were one morphological and one textural feature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiologia Medica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Magnetic resonance
  • Oncology
  • Quantitative imaging
  • Radiomics
  • Radiotherapy
  • Vertebral metastases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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