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In Clinical and experimental rheumatology ; h5-index 43.0

OBJECTIVES : To compare machine learning (ML) to traditional models to predict radiographic progression in patients with early axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA).

METHODS : We carried out a prospective French multicentric DESIR cohort study with 5 years of follow-up that included patients with chronic back pain for <3 years, suggestive of axSpA. Radiographic progression was defined as progression at the spine (increase of at least 1 point of mSASSS scores/2 years) or at the sacroiliac joint (worsening of at least one grade of the mNY score between 2 visits). Statistical analyses were based on patients without any missing data regarding the outcome and variables of interest (295 patients).Traditional modelling: we performed a multivariate logistic regression model (M1); then variable selection with stepwise selection based on Akaike Information Criterion (stepAIC) method (M2), and Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) method (M3).ML modelling: using "SuperLearner" package on R, we modelled radiographic progression with stepAIC, LASSO, random forest, Discrete Bayesian Additive Regression Trees Samplers (DBARTS), Generalized Additive Models (GAM), multivariate adaptive polynomial spline regression (polymars), Recursive Partitioning And Regression Trees (RPART) and Super Learner. Accuracy of these models was compared based on their 10-fold cross-validated AUC (cv-AUC).

RESULTS : 10-fold cv-AUC for traditional models were 0.79 and 0.78 for M2 and M3, respectively. The three best models in the ML algorithms were the GAM, the DBARTS and the Super Learner models, with 10-fold cv-AUC of: 0.77, 0.76 and 0.74, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS : Two traditional models predicted radiographic progression as good as the eight ML models tested in this population.

Garofoli Romain, Resche-Rigon Matthieu, Roux Christian, van der Heijde Désirée, Dougados Maxime, Moltó Anna