Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based radiomics for prostate cancer radiotherapy
In radiotherapy (RT) of prostate cancer, dose escalation has been shown to reduce biochemical failure. Dose escalation only to determinate prostate tumor habitats has the potential to improve tumor control with less toxicity than when the entire prostate is dose escalated. Other issues in the treatment of the RT patient include the choice of the RT technique (hypo- or standard fractionation) and the use and length of concurrent/adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Up to 50% of high-risk men demonstrate biochemical failure suggesting that additional strategies for defining and treating patients based on improved risk stratification are required. The use of multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) is rapidly gaining momentum in the management of prostate cancer because of its improved diagnostic potential and its ability to combine functional and anatomical information. Currently, the Prostate Imaging, Reporting and Diagnosis System (PIRADS) is the standard of care for region of interest (ROI) identification and risk classification. However, PIRADS was not designed for 3D tumor volume delineation; there is a large degree of subjectivity and PIRADS does not accurately and reproducibly elucidate inter- and intra-lesional spatial heterogeneity. “Radiomics”, as it refers to the extraction and analysis of large number of advanced quantitative radiological features from medical images using high throughput methods, is perfectly suited as an engine to effectively sift through the multiple series of prostate mpMRI sequences and quantify regions of interest. The radiomic efforts can be summarized in two main areas: (I) detection/segmentation of the suspicious lesion; and (II) assessment of the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. As related to RT, the goal of the latter is in particular to identify patients at high risk for metastatic disease; and the aim of the former is to identify and segment cancerous lesions and thus provide targets for radiation boost. The article is structured as follows: first, we describe the radiomic approach; and second, we discuss the radiomic pipeline as tailored for RT of prostate cancer. In this process we summarize the current efforts and progress in integrating mpMRI radiomics into the radiotherapeutic management of prostate cancer with emphasis placed on its role in treatment target definition, treatment plan strategizing, and prognostic assessment. The described concepts, methods and tools are not currently applicable to the radiation oncology practice outside of the research setting. More data are required in the form of clinical trials to assess the robustness of radiomics-based predictive models, and to maximize the efficacy of these models.