Urinary bladder cancer staging in CT urography using machine learning

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To evaluate the feasibility of using an objective computer-aided system to assess bladder cancer stage in CT Urography (CTU).

Materials and methods:

A dataset consisting of 84 bladder cancer lesions from 76 CTU cases was used to develop the computerized system for bladder cancer staging based on machine learning approaches. The cases were grouped into two classes based on pathological stage ≥ T2 or below T2, which is the decision threshold for neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatment clinically. There were 43 cancers below stage T2 and 41 cancers at stage T2 or above. All 84 lesions were automatically segmented using our previously developed auto-initialized cascaded level sets (AI-CALS) method. Morphological and texture features were extracted. The features were divided into subspaces of morphological features only, texture features only, and a combined set of both morphological and texture features. The dataset was split into Set 1 and Set 2 for two-fold cross-validation. Stepwise feature selection was used to select the most effective features. A linear discriminant analysis (LDA), a neural network (NN), a support vector machine (SVM), and a random forest (RAF) classifier were used to combine the features into a single score. The classification accuracy of the four classifiers was compared using the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (Az).


Based on the texture features only, the LDA classifier achieved a test Az of 0.91 on Set 1 and a test Az of 0.88 on Set 2. The test Az of the NN classifier for Set 1 and Set 2 were 0.89 and 0.92, respectively. The SVM classifier achieved test Az of 0.91 on Set 1 and test Az of 0.89 on Set 2. The test Az of the RAF classifier for Set 1 and Set 2 was 0.89 and 0.97, respectively. The morphological features alone, the texture features alone, and the combined feature set achieved comparable classification performance.


The predictive model developed in this study shows promise as a classification tool for stratifying bladder cancer into two staging categories: greater than or equal to stage T2 and below stage T2.

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