Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)

The increasing availability of molecular data provided by next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques is allowing improvement in the possibilities of diagnosis and prognosis in renal cancer. Reliable and accurate predictors based on selected gene panels are urgently needed for better stratification of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients in order to define a personalized treatment plan. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are currently in development for this purpose. Here, we reviewed studies that developed predictors based on AI algorithms for diagnosis and prognosis in renal cancer and we compared them with non-AI-based predictors. Comparing study results, it emerges that the AI prediction performance is good and slightly better than non-AI-based ones. However, there have been only minor improvements in AI predictors in terms of accuracy and the area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) over the last decade and the number of genes used had little influence on these indices. Furthermore, we highlight that different studies having the same goal obtain similar performance despite the fact they use different discriminating genes. This is surprising because genes related to the diagnosis or prognosis are expected to be tumor-specific and independent of selection methods and algorithms. The performance of these predictors will be better with the improvement in the learning methods, as the number of cases increases and by using different types of input data (e.g., non-coding RNAs, proteomic and metabolic). This will allow for more precise identification, classification and staging of cancerous lesions which will be less affected by interpathologist variability.

Giulietti Matteo, Cecati Monia, Sabanovic Berina, Scirè Andrea, Cimadamore Alessia, Santoni Matteo, Montironi Rodolfo, Piva Francesco


NGS, artificial neural networks, machine learning, random forests, renal cancer, support vector machines