Machine learning model development for quantitative analysis of CT heterogeneity in canine hepatic masses may predict histologic malignancy

Rami Shaker, Christopher Wilke, Christopher Ober, Jessica Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Tumor heterogeneity is a well-established marker of biologically aggressive neoplastic processes and is associated with local recurrence and distant metastasis. Quantitative analysis of CT textural features is an indirect measure of tumor heterogeneity and therefore may help predict malignant disease. The purpose of this retrospective, secondary analysis study was to quantitatively evaluate CT heterogeneity in dogs with histologically confirmed liver masses to build a predictive model for malignancy. Forty dogs with liver tumors and corresponding histopathologic evaluation from a previous prospective study were included. Triphasic image acquisition was standardized across dogs and whole liver and liver mass were contoured on each precontrast and delayed postcontrast dataset. First-order and second-order indices were extracted from contoured regions. Univariate analysis identified potentially significant indices that were subsequently used for top-down model construction. Multiple quadratic discriminatory models were constructed and tested, including individual models using both postcontrast and precontrast whole liver or liver mass volumes. The best performing model utilized the CT features voxel volume and uniformity from postcontrast mass contours; this model had an accuracy of 0.90, sensitivity of 0.67, specificity of 1.0, positive predictive value of 1.0, negative predictive value of 0.88, and precision of 1.0. Heterogeneity indices extracted from delayed postcontrast CT hepatic mass contours were more informative about tumor type compared to indices from whole liver contours, or from precontrast hepatic mass and whole liver contours. Results demonstrate that CT radiomic feature analysis may hold clinical utility as a noninvasive method of predicting hepatic malignancy and may influence diagnostic or therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
Issue number6
Early online dateAug 26 2021
StatePublished - Aug 26 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this project was provided by the Perlman Oncology Endowment. The authors also wish to acknowledge Dr. Arno Wuenschmann, Dr Med Vet, Diplomate ACVP, for his histopathologic interpretation of liver masses in the previous prospective study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American College of Veterinary Radiology


  • cancer
  • computed tomography
  • liver
  • Liver Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed/veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Dog Diseases/diagnostic imaging
  • Machine Learning

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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