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In Journal of translational medicine

BACKGROUND : Stratification of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) status in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) enables individual clinical treatment decision making. The present study aimed to develop and validate a deep learning (DL) model based on the pre-treatment CT images for predicting MMR status in CRC.

METHODS : 1812 eligible participants (training cohort: n = 1124; internal validation cohort: n = 482; external validation cohort: n = 206) with CRC were enrolled from two institutions. All pretherapeutic CT images from three dimensions were trained by the ResNet101, then integrated by Gaussian process regression (GPR) to develop a full-automatic DL model for MMR status prediction. The predictive performance of the DL model was evaluated using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and then tested in the internal and external validation cohorts. Additionally, the participants from institution 1 were sub-grouped by various clinical factors for subgroup analysis, then the predictive performance of the DL model for identifying MMR status between participants in different groups were compared.

RESULTS : The full-automatic DL model was established in the training cohort to stratify the MMR status, which presented promising discriminative ability with the AUCs of 0.986 (95% CI 0.971-1.000) in the internal validation cohort and 0.915 (95% CI 0.870-0.960) in the external validation cohort. In addition, the subgroup analysis based on the thickness of CT images, clinical T and N stages, gender, the longest diameter, and the location of tumors revealed that the DL model showed similar satisfying prediction performance.

CONCLUSIONS : The DL model may potentially serve as a noninvasive tool to facilitate the pre-treatment individualized prediction of MMR status in patients with CRC, which could promote the personalized clinical-making decision.

Cao Wuteng, Hu Huabin, Guo Jirui, Qin Qiyuan, Lian Yanbang, Li Jiao, Wu Qianyu, Chen Junhong, Wang Xinhua, Deng Yanhong


Colorectal cancer, Computed Tomography, DNA mismatch repair, Deep learning, ResNet101