A CT-based radiomics model to predict subsequent brain metastasis in patients with ALK-rearranged non-small cell lung cancer undergoing crizotinib treatment

Background: Brain metastasis (BM) comprises the most common reason for crizotinib failure in patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-rearranged non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We hypothesize that its occurrence could be predicted by a computed tomography (CT)-based radiomics model, therefore, allowing for selection of enriched patient populations for prevention therapies.

Methods: A total of 75 eligible patients were enrolled from Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center between June 2014 and September 2019. The primary endpoint was brain metastasis-free survival (BMFS), estimated from the initiation of crizotinib to the date of the occurrence of BM. Patients were randomly divided into two cohorts for model training (n = 51) and validation (n = 24), respectively. A radiomics signature was constructed based on features extracted from chest CT before crizotinib treatment. Clinical model was developed using the Cox proportional hazards model. Log-rank test was performed to describe the difference of BMFS risk.

Results: Patients with low radiomics score had significantly longer BMFS than those with higher, both in the training cohort (p = 0.019) and validation cohort (p = 0.048). The nomogram combining smoking history and the radiomics signature showed good performance for the estimation of BMFS, both in the training (concordance index [C-index], 0.762; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.663-0.861) and validation cohort (C-index, 0.724; 95% CI, 0.601-0.847).

Conclusion: We have developed a CT-based radiomics model to predict subsequent BM in patients with non-brain metastatic NSCLC undergoing crizotinib treatment. Selection of an enriched patient population at high BM risk will facilitate the design of clinical trials or strategies to prevent BM.

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