Radiomics in precision medicine for lung cancer

Julie Constanzo, Lise Wei, Huan-Hsin Tseng, Issam El Naqa


With the improvement of external radiotherapy delivery accuracy, such as intensity-modulated and stereotactic body radiation therapy, radiation oncology has recently entered in the era of precision medicine. Despite these precise irradiation modalities, lung cancers remain one of the most aggressive human cancers worldwide, possibly because of diverse genotypic alterations that drive and maintain lung tumorigenesis. It has been long recognized that imaging could aid in the diagnosis, tumor delineation, and monitoring of lung cancer. Moreover, accumulating evidence suggests that imaging information could be further used to tailor treatment type and intensity, as well as predict treatment outcomes in radiotherapy. However, these imaging tasks have been carried out either qualitatively or using simplistic metrics that doesn’t take advantage of the full scale of imaging knowledge. Radiomics, which is a recent field of research that aims to provide a more quantitative representation of imaging information relating tumor phenotypes to clinical and genotypic endpoints by embedding extracted image features into predictive mathematical models. These predictive models can be a key component in the clinician decision making and treatment personalization. This review provides an overview of the radiomics application and its methodology for radiation oncology studies in lung cancer.