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In Technology in cancer research & treatment

BACKGROUND AND AIM : Although the prognosis of nasopharyngeal cancer largely depends on a classification based on the tumor-lymph node metastasis staging system, patients at the same stage may have different clinical outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the survival prognosis of nasopharyngeal cancer using machine learning.

SETTINGS AND DESIGN : Original, retrospective.

MATERIALS AND METHODS : A total of 72 patients with a diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer who received radiotherapy ± chemotherapy were included in the study. The contribution of patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics to the survival prognosis was evaluated by machine learning using the following techniques: logistic regression, artificial neural network, XGBoost, support-vector clustering, random forest, and Gaussian Naive Bayes.

RESULTS : In the analysis of the data set, correlation analysis, and binary logistic regression analyses were applied. Of the 18 independent variables, 10 were found to be effective in predicting nasopharyngeal cancer-related mortality: age, weight loss, initial neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, initial lactate dehydrogenase, initial hemoglobin, radiotherapy duration, tumor diameter, number of concurrent chemotherapy cycles, and T and N stages. Gaussian Naive Bayes was determined as the best algorithm to evaluate the prognosis of machine learning techniques (accuracy rate: 88%, area under the curve score: 0.91, confidence interval: 0.68-1, sensitivity: 75%, specificity: 100%).

CONCLUSION : Many factors affect prognosis in cancer, and machine learning algorithms can be used to determine which factors have a greater effect on survival prognosis, which then allows further research into these factors. In the current study, Gaussian Naive Bayes was identified as the best algorithm for the evaluation of prognosis of nasopharyngeal cancer.

Akcay Melek, Etiz Durmus, Celik Ozer, Ozen Alaattin

machine learning, nasopharyngeal cancer, prognosis, radiotherapy