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TOMOGRAPHY, December 2016, Volume 2, Issue 4: 361-365
DOI: 10.18383/j.tom.2016.00208

Test–Retest Data for Radiomics Feature Stability Analysis: Generalizable or Study-Specific?

Janna E. van Timmeren1, Ralph T.H. Leijenaar1, Wouter van Elmpt1, Jiazhou Wang2,3, Zhen Zhang2,3, André Dekker1, and Philippe Lambin1

1Department of Radiation Oncology (MAASTRO), GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC), Maastricht, The Netherlands; 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, China; and 3Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, China


Radiomics is an objective method for extracting quantitative information from medical images. However, in radiomics, standardization, overfitting, and generalization are major challenges to be overcome. Test–retest experiments can be used to select robust radiomic features that have minimal variation. Currently, it is unknown whether they should be identified for each disease (disease specific) or are only imaging device-specific (computed tomography [CT]-specific). Here, we performed a test–retest analysis on CT scans of 40 patients with rectal cancer in a clinical setting. Correlation between radiomic features was assessed using the concordance correlation coefficient (CCC). In total, only 9/542 features have a CCC > 0.85. Furthermore, results were compared with the test–retest results on CT scans of 27 patients with lung cancer with a 15-minute interval. Results show that 446/542 features have a higher CCC for the test–retest analysis of the data set of patients with lung cancer than for patients with rectal cancer. The importance of controlling factors such as scanners, imaging protocol, reconstruction methods, and time points in a radiomics analysis is shown. Moreover, the results imply that test–retest analyses should be performed before each radiomics study. More research is required to independently evaluate the effect of each factor.

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