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In JCO clinical cancer informatics

PURPOSE : Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is used to treat locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) and high-risk early breast cancer (BC). Pathological complete response (pCR) has prognostic value depending on BC subtype. Rates of pCR, however, can be variable. Predictive modeling is desirable to help identify patients early who may have suboptimal NAC response. Here, we test and compare the predictive performances of machine learning (ML) prediction models to a standard statistical model, using clinical and pathological data.

METHODS : Clinical and pathological variables were collected in 431 patients, including tumor size, patient demographics, histological characteristics, molecular status, and staging information. A standard multivariable logistic regression (MLR) was developed and compared with five ML models: k-nearest neighbor classifier, random forest (RF) classifier, naive Bayes algorithm, support vector machine, and multilayer perceptron model. Model performances were measured using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and statistically compared.

RESULTS : MLR predictors of NAC response included: estrogen receptor (ER) status, human epidermal growth factor-2 (HER2) status, tumor size, and Nottingham grade. The strongest MLR predictors of pCR included HER2+ versus HER2- BC (odds ratio [OR], 0.13; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.23; P < .001) and Nottingham grade G3 versus G1-2 (G1-2: OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.65; P < .001). The area under the curve (AUC) for the MLR was AUC = 0.64. Among the various ML models, an RF classifier performed best, with an AUC = 0.88, sensitivity of 70.7%, and specificity of 84.6%, and included the following variables: menopausal status, ER status, HER2 status, Nottingham grade, tumor size, nodal status, and presence of inflammatory BC.

CONCLUSION : Modeling performances varied between standard versus ML classification methods. RF ML classifiers demonstrated the best predictive performance among all models.

Meti Nicholas, Saednia Khadijeh, Lagree Andrew, Tabbarah Sami, Mohebpour Majid, Kiss Alex, Lu Fang-I, Slodkowska Elzbieta, Gandhi Sonal, Jerzak Katarzyna Joanna, Fleshner Lauren, Law Ethan, Sadeghi-Naini Ali, Tran William T