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Radiomic analysis for response assessment in advanced head and neck cancers, a distant dream or an inevitable reality? A systematic review of the current level of evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Amrita Guha, Steve Connor, Mustafa Anjari, Harish Naik, Musib Siddiqui, Gary Cook, Vicky Goh

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190496
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Volume93
Issue number1106
DOIs
Published1 Jan 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

Objective: The recent increase in publications on radiomic analysis as means to produce diagnostic and predictive biomarkers in head and neck cancers (HNCC) reveal complicated and often conflicting results. The objective of this paper is to systematically review the published data, and evaluate the current level of evidence accumulated that would determine clinical application. Methods: Data sources: Articles in the English language available on the Ovid-MEDLINE and Embase databases were used for the literature search. Study selection: Studies which evaluated the role of radiomics as a predictive or prognostic tool for response assessment in HNCC were included in this review. Study appraisal and synthesis methods: The authors set-out to perform a meta-analysis, however given the small number of studies retrieved that presented adequate data, combined with excessive methodological heterogeneity, we could only perform a structured descriptive systematic review summarizing the key findings. Independent extraction of articles was performed by two authors using predefined data fields and any disagreement was resolved by consensus. Results: Though most papers concluded that radiomics is an effective predictive and prognostic biomarker in the management of HNCC, significant heterogeneity exists in the study methodology and statistical modelling; thus precluding accurate mathematical comparison or the ability to make clear recommendations going forwards. Moreover, most studies have not been validated and the reproducibility of their results will be a challenge. Conclusion: Until robust external validation studies on the reproducibility and accuracy of radiomic analysis methods on HNCC are carried out, the current level of evidence remains low, with the authors advising caution against hasty implementation of these tools in the multidisciplinary clinic. Advances in knowledge: This review is the first attempt to critically analyze the merits and demerits of currently published literature on tumour heterogeneity studies in HNCC, and identifies specific loop holes that need to be addressed by research groups, for a meaningful clinical translation of this potential biomarker.

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