To investigate if delta-radiomics features have the potential to predict the major pathological response (MPR) to neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Two hundred six stage IIA-IIIB NSCLC patients from three institutions (Database1 = 164; Database2 = 21; Database3 = 21) who received neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy and surgery were included. Patients in Database1 were randomly assigned to the training dataset and test dataset, with a ratio of 0.7:0.3. Patients in Database2 and Database3 were used as two independent external validation datasets. Contrast-enhanced CT scans were obtained at baseline and before surgery. The delta-radiomics features were defined as the relative net change of radiomics features between baseline and preoperative. The delta-radiomics model and pre-treatment radiomics model were established. The performance of Immune-Related Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (iRECIST) for predicting MPR was also evaluated.
Half of the patients (106/206, 51.5%) showed MPR after neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy. For predicting MPR, the delta-radiomics model achieved a satisfying area under the curves (AUCs) values of 0.768, 0.732, 0.833, and 0.716 in the training, test, and two external validation databases, respectively, which showed a superior predictive performance than the pre-treatment radiomics model (0.644, 0.616, 0.475, and 0.608). Compared with iRECIST criteria (0.624, 0.572, 0.650, and 0.466), a mixed model that combines delta-radiomics features and iRECIST had higher AUC values for MPR prediction of 0.777, 0.761, 0.850, and 0.670 in four sets.
The delta-radiomics model demonstrated superior diagnostic performance compared to pre-treatment radiomics model and iRECIST criteria in predicting MPR preoperatively in neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy for stage II-III NSCLC.
Clinical relevance statement
Delta-radiomics features based on the relative net change of radiomics features between baseline and preoperative CT scans serve a vital support tool in accurately identifying responses to neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy, which can help physicians make more appropriate treatment decisions.
• The performances of pre-treatment radiomics model and iRECIST model in predicting major pathological response of neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy were unsatisfactory.
• The delta-radiomics features based on relative net change of radiomics features between baseline and preoperative CT scans may be used as a noninvasive biomarker for predicting major pathological response of neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy.
• Combining delta-radiomics features and iRECIST can further improve the predictive performance of responses to neoadjuvant chemoimmunotherapy.