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In BMC cancer

BACKGROUND : Almost all Koreans are covered by mandatory national health insurance and are required to undergo health screening at least once every 2 years. We aimed to develop a machine learning model to predict the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) based on the screening results and insurance claim data.

METHODS : The National Health Insurance Service-National Health Screening database was used for this study (NHIS-2020-2-146). Our study cohort consisted of 417,346 health screening examinees between 2004 and 2007 without cancer history, which was split into training and test cohorts by the examination date, before or after 2005. Robust predictors were selected using Cox proportional hazard regression with 1000 different bootstrapped datasets. Random forest and extreme gradient boosting algorithms were used to develop a prediction model for the 9-year risk of HCC development after screening. After optimizing a prediction model via cross validation in the training cohort, the model was validated in the test cohort.

RESULTS : Of the total examinees, 0.5% (1799/331,694) and 0.4% (390/85,652) in the training cohort and the test cohort were diagnosed with HCC, respectively. Of the selected predictors, older age, male sex, obesity, abnormal liver function tests, the family history of chronic liver disease, and underlying chronic liver disease, chronic hepatitis virus or human immunodeficiency virus infection, and diabetes mellitus were associated with increased risk, whereas higher income, elevated total cholesterol, and underlying dyslipidemia or schizophrenic/delusional disorders were associated with decreased risk of HCC development (p < 0.001). In the test, our model showed good discrimination and calibration. The C-index, AUC, and Brier skill score were 0.857, 0.873, and 0.078, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS : Machine learning-based model could be used to predict the risk of HCC development based on the health screening examination results and claim data.

An Chansik, Choi Jong Won, Lee Hyung Soon, Lim Hyunsun, Ryu Seok Jong, Chang Jung Hyun, Oh Hyun Cheol


Big data, Liver neoplasms, Machine learning, Precision medicine