MRI-based radiomics in breast cancer: feature robustness with respect to inter-observer segmentation variability

R. W. Y. Granzier*, N. M. H. Verbakel, A. Ibrahim, J. E. van Timmeren, T. J. A. van Nijnatten, R. T. H. Leijenaar, M. B. I. Lobbes, M. L. Smidt, H. C. Woodruff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Web of Science)


Radiomics is an emerging field using the extraction of quantitative features from medical images for tissue characterization. While MRI-based radiomics is still at an early stage, it showed some promising results in studies focusing on breast cancer patients in improving diagnoses and therapy response assessment. Nevertheless, the use of radiomics raises a number of issues regarding feature quantification and robustness. Therefore, our study aim was to determine the robustness of radiomics features extracted by two commonly used radiomics software with respect to variability in manual breast tumor segmentation on MRI. A total of 129 histologically confirmed breast tumors were segmented manually in three dimensions on the first post-contrast T1-weighted MR exam by four observers: a dedicated breast radiologist, a resident, a Ph.D. candidate, and a medical student. Robust features were assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC>0.9). The inter-observer variability was evaluated by the volumetric Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC). The mean DSC for all tumors was 0.81 (range 0.19-0.96), indicating a good spatial overlap of the segmentations based on observers of varying expertise. In total, 41.6% (552/1328) and 32.8% (273/833) of all RadiomiX and Pyradiomics features, respectively, were identified as robust and were independent of inter-observer manual segmentation variability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14163
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020



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