Radiographic imaging is routinely used to evaluate treatment response in solid tumors. Current imaging response metrics do not reliably predict the underlying biological response. Here, we present a multi-task deep learning approach that allows simultaneous tumor segmentation and response prediction. We design two Siamese subnetworks that are joined at multiple layers, which enables integration of multi-scale feature representations and in-depth comparison of pre-treatment and post-treatment images. The network is trained using 2568 magnetic resonance imaging scans of 321 rectal cancer patients for predicting pathologic complete response after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. In multi-institution validation, the imaging-based model achieves AUC of 0.95 (95% confidence interval: 0.91-0.98) and 0.92 (0.87-0.96) in two independent cohorts of 160 and 141 patients, respectively. When combined with blood-based tumor markers, the integrated model further improves prediction accuracy with AUC 0.97 (0.93-0.99). Our approach to capturing dynamic information in longitudinal images may be broadly used for screening, treatment response evaluation, disease monitoring, and surveillance.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22188-y
View details for PubMedID 33767170