Background and purpose:
Quantitative tumour shape features extracted from radiotherapy planning scans have shown potential as prognostic markers. In this study, we investigated if sphericity of the gross tumour volume (GTV) on planning computed tomography (CT) is an independent predictor of overall survival (OS) in lung cancer patients treated with standard radiotherapy. In the analysis, we considered whether tumour sphericity is correlated with clinical prognostic factors or influenced by the inclusion of lymph nodes in the GTV.
Materials and methods:
Sphericity of single GTV delineation was extracted for 457 lung cancer patients. Relationships between sphericity, and common patient and tumour characteristics were investigated via correlation analysis and multivariate Cox regression to assess prognostic value of GTV sphericity. A subset analysis was performed for 290 nodal stage N0 patients to determine prognostic value of primary tumour sphericity.
Sphericity is correlated with clinical variables: tumour volume, mean lung dose, N stage, and T stage. Sphericity is strongly associated with OS (p < 0.001, hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) = 0.13 (0.04-0.41)) in univariate analysis. However, this association did not remain significant in multivariate analysis (p = 0.826, HR (95% CI) = 0.83 (0.16-4.31), and inclusion of sphericity to a clinical model did not improve model performance. In addition, no significant relationship between sphericity and OS was detected in univariate (p = 0.072) or multivariate (p = 0.920) analysis of N0 subset.
Sphericity correlates clearly with clinical prognostic factors, which are often unaccounted for in radiomic studies. Sphericity is also influenced by the presence of nodal involvement within the GTV contour.