Background Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with dismal prognosis, and prediction of the prognosis of HCC can assist the therapeutic decisions. More and more studies showed that the texture parameters of images can reflect the heterogeneity of the tumor, and may have the potential to predict the prognosis of patients with HCC after surgical resection. The aim of the study was to investigate the prognostic value of computed tomography (CT) texture parameters for patients with HCC after hepatectomy, and try to develop a radiomics nomograms by combining clinicopathological factors with radiomics signature.
Methods 544 eligible patients were enrolled in the retrospective study and randomly divided into training cohort (n=381) and validation cohort (n=163). The regions of interest (ROIs) of tumor is delineated, then the corresponding texture parameters are extracted. The texture parameters were selected by using the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) Cox model in training cohort, and the radiomics score (Rad-score) was generated. According to the cut-off value of the Rad-score calculated by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, the patients were divided into high-risk group and low-risk group. The prognosis of the two groups was compared and validated in the validation cohort. Univariate and multivariable analyses by COX proportional hazard regression model were used to select the prognostic factors of overall survival (OS). The radiomics nomogram for OS were established based on the radiomics signature and clinicopathological factors. The Concordance index (C-index), calibration plot and decision curve analysis (DCA) were used to evaluate the performance of the radiomics nomogram.
Result 7 texture parameters associated with OS were selected in the training, and the radiomics signature was formulated based on the texture parameters. The patients were divided into high-risk group and low-risk group by the cut-off values of the Rad-score of OS. The 1-, 3- and 5-year OS rate was 71.0%, 45.5% and 35.5% in the high-risk group, respectively, and 91.7%, 82.1% and 78.7%, in the low-risk group, respectively, with significant difference (P <0.001). COX regression model found that Rad-score was an independent prognostic factor of OS. In addition, the radiomics nomogram was developed based on five variables: α‐fetoprotein (AFP), platelet lymphocyte ratio (PLR), largest tumor size, microvascular invasion (MVI) and Rad-score. The nomograms displayed good accuracy in predicting OS (C-index=0.747) in the training cohort and was confirmed in the validation cohort (C-index=0.777). The calibration plots also showed an excellent agreement between the actual and predicted survival probabilities. The DAC indicated that the radiomics nomogram showed better clinical usefulness than the clinicopathologic nomogram.
Conclusion The radiomics signature is potential biomarkers of the prognosis of HCC after hepatectomy. Radiomics nomogram that integrated radiomics signature can provide more accurate estimate of OS for patients with HCC after hepatectomy.