Exploratory Study to Identify Radiomics Classifiers for Lung Cancer Histology

Weimiao Wu*, Chintan Parmar, Patrick Grossmann, John Quackenbush, Philippe Lambin, Johan Bussink, Raymond Mak, Hugo J. W. L. Aerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Radiomics can quantify tumor phenotypic characteristics non-invasively by applying feature algorithms to medical imaging data. In this study of lung cancer patients, we investigated the association between radiomic features and the tumor histologic subtypes (adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). Furthermore, in order to predict histologic subtypes, we employed machine-learning methods and independently evaluated their prediction performance. Methods: Two independent radiomic cohorts with a combined size of 350 patients were included in our analysis. A total of 440 radiomic features were extracted from the segmented tumor volumes of pretreatment CT images. These radiomic features quantify tumor phenotypic characteristics on medical images using tumor shape and size, intensity statistics, and texture. Univariate analysis was performed to assess each feature's association with the histological subtypes. In our multivariate analysis, we investigated 24 feature selection methods and 3 classification methods for histology prediction. Multivariate models were trained on the training cohort and their performance was evaluated on the independent validation cohort using the area under ROC curve (AUC). Histology was determined from surgical specimen. Results: In our univariate analysis, we observed that fifty-three radiomic features were significantly associated with tumor histology. In multivariate analysis, feature selection methods ReliefF and its variants showed higher prediction accuracy as compared to other methods. We found that Naive Baye's classifier outperforms other classifiers and achieved the highest AUC (0.72; p-value = 2.3 x 10(-7)) with five features: Stats_min, Wavelet_HLL_rIgl_lowGrayLevelRunEmphasis, Wavelet_HHL_stats_median, Wavelet_HLL_stats_skewness, and Wavelet_HLH_glcm_clusShade. Conclusion: Histological subtypes can influence the choice of a treatment/therapy for lung cancer patients. We observed that radiomic features show significant association with the lung tumor histology. Moreover, radiomics-based multivariate classifiers were independently validated for the prediction of histological subtypes. Despite achieving lower than optimal prediction accuracy (AUC 0.72), our analysis highlights the impressive potential of non-invasive and cost-effective radiomics for precision medicine. Further research in this direction could lead us to optimal performance and therefore to clinical applicability, which could enhance the efficiency and efficacy of cancer care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016


  • quantitative imaging
  • radiomics
  • lung cancer histology
  • computational science
  • feature selection

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