Objectives To develop and validate a radiomics model for evaluating treatment response to immune-checkpoint inhibitor plus chemotherapy (ICI + CT) in patients with advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Methods A total of 64 patients with advance ESCC receiving first-line ICI + CT at two centers between January 2019 and June 2020 were enrolled in this study. Both 2D ROIs and 3D ROIs were segmented. ComBat correction was applied to minimize the potential bias on the results due to different scan protocols. A total of 788 features were extracted and radiomics models were built on corrected/uncorrected 2D and 3D features by using 5-fold cross-validation. The performance of the radiomics models was assessed by its discrimination, calibration and clinical usefulness with independent validation.
Results Five features and support vector machine algorithm were selected to build the 2D uncorrected, 2D corrected, 3D uncorrected and 3D corrected radiomics models. The 2D radiomics models significantly outperformed the 3D radiomics models in both primary and validation cohorts. When ComBat correction was used, the performance of 2D models was better (p = 0.0059) in the training cohort, and significantly better (p < 0.0001) in the validation cohort. The 2D corrected radiomics model yielded the optimal performance and was used to build the nomogram. The calibration curve of the radiomics model demonstrated good agreement between prediction and observation and the decision curve analysis confirmed the clinical utility.
Conclusions The easy-to-use 2D corrected radiomics model could facilitate noninvasive preselection of ESCC patients who would benefit from ICI + CT.
Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12885-021-08899-x.