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In Frontiers in medicine

Background : This study aims to develop and validate a predictive model combining deep transfer learning, radiomics, and clinical features for lymph node metastasis (LNM) in early gastric cancer (EGC).

Materials and methods : This study retrospectively collected 555 patients with EGC, and randomly divided them into two cohorts with a ratio of 7:3 (training cohort, n = 388; internal validation cohort, n = 167). A total of 79 patients with EGC collected from the Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University were used as external validation cohort. Pre-trained deep learning networks were used to extract deep transfer learning (DTL) features, and radiomics features were extracted based on hand-crafted features. We employed the Spearman rank correlation test and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator regression for feature selection from the combined features of clinical, radiomics, and DTL features, and then, machine learning classification models including support vector machine, K-nearest neighbor, random decision forests (RF), and XGBoost were trained, and their performance by determining the area under the curve (AUC) were compared.

Results : We constructed eight pre-trained transfer learning networks and extracted DTL features, respectively. The results showed that 1,048 DTL features extracted based on the pre-trained Resnet152 network combined in the predictive model had the best performance in discriminating the LNM status of EGC, with an AUC of 0.901 (95% CI: 0.847-0.956) and 0.915 (95% CI: 0.850-0.981) in the internal validation and external validation cohorts, respectively.

Conclusion : We first utilized comprehensive multidimensional data based on deep transfer learning, radiomics, and clinical features with a good predictive ability for discriminating the LNM status in EGC, which could provide favorable information when choosing therapy options for individuals with EGC.

Zeng Qingwen, Li Hong, Zhu Yanyan, Feng Zongfeng, Shu Xufeng, Wu Ahao, Luo Lianghua, Cao Yi, Tu Yi, Xiong Jianbo, Zhou Fuqing, Li Zhengrong


convolutional neural networks, deep learning, early gastric cancer (EGC), lymph node metastasis, radiomics