Radiomics Signature Using Manual Versus Automated Segmentation for Lymph Node Staging of Bladder Cancer.

Bladder cancer (BC) treatment algorithms depend on accurate tumor staging. To date, computed tomography (CT) is recommended for assessment of lymph node (LN) metastatic spread in muscle-invasive and high-risk BC. However, the diagnostic efficacy of radiologist-evaluated CT imaging studies is limited.

To evaluate the performance of quantitative radiomics signatures for detection of LN metastases in BC.

Of 1354 patients with BC who underwent radical cystectomy (RC) with lymphadenectomy who were screened, 391 with pathological nodal staging (pN0: n = 297; pN+: n = 94) were included and randomized into training (n = 274) and test (n = 117) cohorts. Pelvic LNs were segmented manually and automatically. A total of 1004 radiomics features were extracted from each LN and a machine learning model was trained to assess pN status using histopathology labels as the ground truth.

Radiologist assessment was compared to radiomics-based analysis using manual and automated LN segmentations for detection of LN metastases in BC. Statistical analysis was performed using the receiver operating characteristics curve method and evaluated in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC).

In total, 1845 LNs were manually segmented. Automated segmentation correctly located 361/557 LNs in the test cohort. Manual and automatic masks achieved an AUC of 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69-0.91; p = 0.64) and 0.70 (95% CI: 0.58-0.82; p = 0.17), respectively, in the test cohort compared to radiologist assessment, with an AUC of 0.78 (95% CI 0.67-0.89). A combined model of a manually segmented radiomics signature and radiologist assessment reached an AUC of 0.81 (95% CI 0.71-0.92; p = 0.63).

A radiomics signature allowed discrimination of nodal status with high diagnostic accuracy. The model based on manual LN segmentation outperformed the fully automated approach.

For patients with bladder cancer, evaluation of computed tomography (CT) scans before surgery using a computer-based method for image analysis, called radiomics, may help in standardizing and improving the accuracy of assessment of lymph nodes. This could be a valuable tool for optimizing treatment options.

European urology focus. 2022 Sep 14 [Epub ahead of print]

Eva Gresser, Piotr Woźnicki, Katharina Messmer, Andrea Schreier, Wolfgang Gerhard Kunz, Michael Ingrisch, Christian Stief, Jens Ricke, Dominik Nörenberg, Alexander Buchner, Gerald Bastian Schulz

Department of Radiology, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany. Electronic address: ., Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany., Department of Urology, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany., Department of Otolaryngology, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany., Department of Radiology, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany., Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.