Machine learning highlights the deficiency of conventional dosimetric constraints for prevention of high-grade radiation esophagitis in non-small cell lung cancer treated with chemoradiation

José Marcio Luna, Hann Hsiang Chao, Russel T. Shinohara, Lyle H. Ungar, Keith A. Cengel, Daniel A. Pryma, Chidambaram Chinniah, Abigail T. Berman, Sharyn I. Katz, Despina Kontos, Charles B. Simone, Eric S. Diffenderfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Radiation esophagitis is a clinically important toxicity seen with treatment for locally-advanced non-small cell lung cancer. There is considerable disagreement among prior studies in identifying predictors of radiation esophagitis. We apply machine learning algorithms to identify factors contributing to the development of radiation esophagitis to uncover previously unidentified criteria and more robust dosimetric factors. Materials and Methods: We used machine learning approaches to identify predictors of grade ≥ 3 radiation esophagitis in a cohort of 202 consecutive locally-advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with definitive chemoradiation from 2008 to 2016. We evaluated 35 clinical features per patient grouped into risk factors, comorbidities, imaging, stage, histology, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and dosimetry. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using a panel of 11 machine learning algorithms combined with predictive power assessments. Results: All patients were treated to a median dose of 66.6 Gy at 1.8 Gy per fraction using photon (89.6%) and proton (10.4%) beam therapy, most often with concurrent chemotherapy (86.6%). 11.4% of patients developed grade ≥ 3 radiation esophagitis. On univariate analysis, no individual feature was found to predict radiation esophagitis (AUC range 0.45–0.55, p ≥ 0.07). In multivariate analysis, all machine learning algorithms exhibited poor predictive performance (AUC range 0.46–0.56, p ≥ 0.07). Conclusions: Contemporary machine learning algorithms applied to our modern, relatively large institutional cohort could not identify any reliable predictors of grade ≥ 3 radiation esophagitis. Additional patients are needed, and novel patient-specific and treatment characteristics should be investigated to develop clinically meaningful methods to mitigate this survival altering toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Translational Radiation Oncology
Volume22
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Chemoradiation
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • Machine learning
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Proton beam therapy
  • Radiation esophagitis
  • Radiation-induced toxicity

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