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In Journal for immunotherapy of cancer

BACKGROUND : Tumor mutational burden (TMB) is a significant predictor of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) efficacy. This study investigated the correlation between deep learning radiomic biomarker and TMB, including its predictive value for ICIs treatment response in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

METHODS : CT images from 327 patients with TMB data (TMB median=6.067 mutations per megabase (range: 0 to 42.151)) were retrospectively collected and randomly divided into a training (n=236), validation (n=26), and test cohort (n=65). We used 3D-densenet to estimate the target tumor area, which used 1020 deep learning features to distinguish High-TMB from Low-TMB patients and establish the TMB radiomic biomarker (TMBRB). The TMBRB was developed in the training cohort combined with validation cohort and evaluated in the test cohort. The predictive value of TMBRB was assessed in a cohort of 123 NSCLC patients who had received ICIs (survival median=462 days (range: 16 to 1128)).

RESULTS : TMBRB discriminated between High-TMB and Low-TMB patients in the training cohort (area under the curve (AUC): 0.85, 95% CI: 0.84 to 0.87))and test cohort (AUC: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.77 to 0.85). In this study, the predictive value of TMBRB was better than that of a histological subtype (AUC of training cohort: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.72 to 0.77; AUC of test cohort: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.66 to 0.76) or Radiomic model (AUC of training cohort: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.72 to 0.77; AUC of test cohort: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.79). When predicting immunotherapy efficacy, TMBRB divided patients into a high- and low-risk group with distinctly different overall survival (OS; HR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.95; p=0.030) and progression-free survival (PFS; HR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.07 to 2.95; p=0.023). Moreover, TMBRB had a better predictive ability when combined with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (OS: p=0.007; PFS: p=0.003). Visual analysis revealed that tumor microenvironment was important for predicting TMB.

CONCLUSION : By combining deep learning technology and CT images, we developed an individual non-invasive biomarker that could distinguish High-TMB from Low-TMB, which might inform decisions on the use of ICIs in patients with advanced NSCLC.

He Bingxi, Dong Di, She Yunlang, Zhou Caicun, Fang Mengjie, Zhu Yongbei, Zhang Henghui, Huang Zhipei, Jiang Tao, Tian Jie, Chen Chang


biomarkers, tumor, biostatistics, immunotherapy, lung neoplasms, tumor microenvironment