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In Frontiers in oncology

Purpose : Preoperative evaluation of lymph node metastasis (LNM) is the basis of personalized treatment of locally advanced gastric cancer (LAGC). We aim to develop and evaluate CT-based model using deep learning features to preoperatively predict LNM in LAGC.

Methods : A combined size of 523 patients who had pathologically confirmed LAGC were retrospectively collected between August 2012 and July 2019 from our hospital. Five pre-trained convolutional neural networks were exploited to extract deep learning features from pretreatment CT images. And the support vector machine (SVM) was employed as the classifier. We assessed the performance using the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC) and selected an optimal model, which was compared with a radiomics model developed from the training cohort. A clinical model was built with clinical factors only for baseline comparison.

Results : The optimal model with features extracted from ResNet yielded better performance with AUC of 0.796 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.715-0.865] and accuracy of 75.2% (95% CI, 67.2%-81.5%) in the testing cohort, compared with 0.704 (0.625-0.783) and 61.8% (54.5%-69.9%) for the radiomics model. The predictive performance of all the radiological models were significantly better than the clinical model.

Conclusion : The novel and noninvasive deep learning approach could provide efficient and accurate prediction of lymph node metastasis in LAGC, and benefit clinical decision making of therapeutic strategy.

Zhang An-Qi, Zhao Hui-Ping, Li Fei, Liang Pan, Gao Jian-Bo, Cheng Ming


computed tomography, deep learning, locally advanced gastric cancer, lymph node metastasis, radiomics