An Investigation of Machine Learning Methods for Delta-radiomic Feature Analysis

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Background: Radiomics is a process of converting medical images into high-dimensional quantitative features and the subsequent mining these features for providing decision support. It is conducted as a potential noninvasive, low-cost, and patient-specific routine clinical tool. Building a predictive model which is reliable, efficient, and accurate is a vital part for the success of radiomics. Machine learning method is a powerful tool to achieve this. Feature extraction strongly affects the performance. Delta-feature is one way of feature extraction methods to reflect the spatial variation in tumor phenotype, hence it could provide better treatment-specific assessment.

Purpose: To compare the performance of using pre-treatment features and delta-features for assessing the brain radiosurgery treatment response, and to investigate the performance of different combinations of machine learning methods for feature selection and for feature classification.

Materials and Methods: A cohort of 12 patients with brain treated by radiosurgery was included in this research. The pre-treatment, one-week post-treatment, and two-month post-treatment T1 and T2 FLAIR MR images were acquired. 61 radiomic features were extracted from the gross tumor volume (GTV) of each image. The delta-features from pre-treatment to two post-treatment time points were calculated. With leave-one-out sampling, pre-treatment features and the two sets of delta-features were separately input into a univariate Cox regression model and a machine learning model (L1-regularized logistic regression [L1-LR], random forest [RF] or neural network [NN]) for feature selection. Then a machine learning method (L1-LR, L2-regularized logistic regression [L2-LR], RF, NN, kernel support vector machine [Kernel-SVM], linear-SVM, or naïve bayes [NB]) was used to build a classification model to predict overall survival. The performance of each model combination and feature type was estimated by the area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC).

Results: The AUC of one-week delta-features was significantly higher than that of pre-treatment features (p-values < 0.0001) and two-month delta-features (p-value= 0.000). The model combinations of L1-LR for feature selection and RF for classification as well as RF for feature selection and NB for classification based on one-week delta-features presented the highest AUC values (both AUC=0.944).

Conclusions: This work potentially implied that the delta-features could be better in predicting treatment response than pre-treatment features, and the time point of computing the delta-features was a vital factor in assessment performance. Analyzing delta-features using a suitable machine learning approach is potentially a powerful tool for assessing treatment response.


Master's thesis


DKU - Medical Physics Master of Science Program





Chang, Yushi (2018). An Investigation of Machine Learning Methods for Delta-radiomic Feature Analysis. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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