Background: Personalized treatment is increasingly required for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients due to emerging new cancer subtypes and treatment options. Outcome prediction model can help identify low or high-risk patients who may be suitable to receive de-escalation or intensified treatment approaches.
Purpose: To develop a deep learning (DL)-based model for predicting multiple and associated efficacy endpoints in OPSCC patients based on computed tomography (CT).
Methods: Two patient cohorts were used in this study: a development cohort consisting of 524 OPSCC patients (70% for training and 30% for independent testing) and an external test cohort of 396 patients. Pre-treatment CT-scans with the gross primary tumor volume contours (GTVt) and clinical parameters were available to predict endpoints, including 2-year local control (LC), regional control (RC), locoregional control (LRC), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), disease-specific survival (DSS), overall survival (OS), and disease-free survival (DFS). We proposed DL outcome prediction models with the multi-label learning (MLL) strategy that integrates the associations of different endpoints based on clinical factors and CT-scans.
Results: The multi-label learning models outperformed the models that were developed based on a single endpoint for all endpoints especially with high AUCs ≥ 0.80 for 2-year RC, DMFS, DSS, OS, and DFS in the internal independent test set and for all endpoints except 2-year LRC in the external test set. Furthermore, with the models developed, patients could be stratified into high and low-risk groups that were significantly different for all endpoints in the internal test set and for all endpoints except DMFS in the external test set.
Conclusion: MLL models demonstrated better discriminative ability for all 2-year efficacy endpoints than single outcome models in the internal test and for all endpoints except LRC in the external set.