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Deep Convolutional Neural Network-Based Positron Emission Tomography Analysis Predicts Esophageal Ca

Published by Journal of Clinical Medicine on 13 June 2019


In esophageal cancer, few prediction tools can be confidently used in current clinical practice. We developed a deep convolutional neural network (CNN) with 798 positron emission tomography (PET) scans of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and 309 PET scans of stage I lung cancer.

In the first stage, we pre-trained a 3D-CNN with all PET scans for a task to classify the scans into esophageal cancer or lung cancer. Overall, 548 of 798 PET scans of esophageal cancer patients were included in the second stage to classify patients who expired within or survived more than one year after diagnosis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used to evaluate model performance. In the pre-train model, the deep CNN attained an AUC of 0.738 in identifying patients who expired within one year after diagnosis. In the survival analysis, patients who were predicted to be expired but were alive at one year after diagnosis had a 5-year survival rate of 32.6%, which was significantly worse than the 5-year survival rate of the patients who were predicted to survive and were alive at one year after diagnosis (50.5%, p < 0.001).

These results suggest that the prediction model could identify tumors with more aggressive behavior. In the multivariable analysis, the prediction result remained an independent prognostic factor (hazard ratio: 2.830; 95% confidence interval: 2.252–3.555, p < 0.001). We conclude that a 3D-CNN can be trained with PET image datasets to predict esophageal cancer outcomes with acceptable accuracy.


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