Research Papers:

Exploration and validation of radiomics signature as an independent prognostic biomarker in stage III-IVb nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Fu-Sheng Ouyang, Bao-Liang Guo, Bin Zhang, Yu-Hao Dong, Lu Zhang, Xiao-Kai Mo, Wen-Hui Huang, Shui-Xing Zhang and Qiu-Gen Hu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:74869-74879. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20423

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Fu-Sheng Ouyang1,*, Bao-Liang Guo1,*, Bin Zhang2,3, Yu-Hao Dong4, Lu Zhang4, Xiao-Kai Mo4, Wen-Hui Huang4, Shui-Xing Zhang2,3 and Qiu-Gen Hu1

1Department of Radiology, The First People’s Hospital of Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong, P.R. China

2Medical Imaging Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P.R. China

3Institute of Molecular and Functional Imaging, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P.R. China

4Department of Radiology, Guangdong General Hospital/Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P.R. China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Qiu-Gen Hu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, radiomics signature, prognostic, biomarker

Received: April 18, 2017    Accepted: June 18, 2017    Published: August 24, 2017


There is no consensus on specific prognostic biomarkers potentially improving survival of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), especially in advanced-stage disease. The prognostic value of MRI-based radiomics signature is unclear. A total of 970 quantitative features were extracted from the tumor of 100 untreated NPC patients (stage III-IVb) (discovery set: n = 70, validation set: n = 30). We then applied least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (lasso) regression to select features that were most associated with progression-free survival (PFS). Candidate prognostic biomarkers included age, gender, overall stage, hemoglobin, platelet counts and radiomics signature. We developed model 1 (without radiomics signature) and model 2 (with radiomics signature) in the discovery set and then tested in the validation set. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to yield hazard ratio (HR) of each potential biomarker. We found the radiomics signature stratified patients in the discovery set into a low or high risk group for PFS (HR = 5.14, p < 0.001) and was successfully validated for patients in the validation set (HR = 7.28, p = 0.015). However, the other risk factors showed no significantly prognostic value (all p-values for HR, > 0.05). Accordingly, pretreatment MRI-based radiomics signature is a non-invasive and cost-effective prognostic biomarker in advanced NPC patients, which would improve decision-support in cancer care.

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