Role of MR texture analysis in histological subtyping and grading of renal cell carcinoma: a preliminary study
The study evaluated the usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) texture parameters in differentiating clear cell renal carcinoma (CC-RCC) from non-clear cell carcinoma (NC-RCC) and in the histological grading of CC-RCC.
Materials and methods
After institutional ethical approval, this retrospective study analyzed 33 patients with 34 RCC masses (29 CC-RCC and five NC-RCC; 19 low-grade and 10 high-grade CC-RCC), who underwent MRI between January 2011 and December 2012 on a 1.5-T scanner (Avanto, Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). The MRI protocol included T2-weighted imaging (T2WI), diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI; at b 0, 500 and 1000 s/mm2 with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps] and T1-weighted pre and postcontrast [corticomedullary (CM) and nephrographic (NG) phase] acquisition. MR texture analysis (MRTA) was performed using the TexRAD research software (Feedback Medical Ltd., Cambridge, UK) by a single reader who placed free-hand polygonal region of interest (ROI) on the slice showing the maximum viable tumor. Filtration histogram-based texture analysis was used to generate six first-order statistical parameters [mean intensity, standard deviation (SD), mean of positive pixels (MPP), entropy, skewness and kurtosis] at five spatial scaling factors (SSF) as well as on the unfiltered image. Mann–Whitney test was used to compare the texture parameters of CC-RCC versus NC-RCC, and high-grade versus low-grade CC-RCC. P value < 0.05 was considered significant. A 3-step feature selection was used to obtain the best texture metrics for each MRI sequence and included the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis and Pearson’s correlation test.
The best performing texture parameters in differentiating CC-RCC from NC-RCC for each sequence included (area under the curve in parentheses): entropy at SSF 4 (0.807) on T2WI, SD at SSF 4 (0.814) on DWI b500, SD at SSF 6 (0.879) on DWI b1000, mean at SSF 0 (0.848) on ADC, skewness at SSF 2 (0.854) on T1WI and skewness at SSF 3 (0.908) on CM phase. In differentiating high from low-grade CC-RCC, the best parameters were: entropy at SSF 6 (0.823) on DWI b1000, mean at SSF 3 (0.889) on CM phase and MPP at SSF 5 (0.870) on NG phase.
Several MR texture parameters showed excellent diagnostic performance (AUC > 0.8) in differentiating CC-RCC from NC-RCC, and high-grade from low-grade CC-RCC. MRTA could serve as a useful non-invasive tool for this purpose.
KeywordsRenal cell carcinoma Fuhrman grade Magnetic resonance imaging Radiomics Texture analysis
Study concepts and design: AG, AR, DK, RS; Data acquisition: AG, AR, PD; Data analysis and interpretation: AG, AR, DK, BG, RS; Literature research: AG, AR, RS; Manuscript drafting: AG, AR; Manuscript revision for important intellectual content: AG, AR, DK, BG, RS; Approval of the final version of the submitted manuscript: all authors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
One of the authors (Balaji Ganeshan) is a director and part time employee of Feedback Medical Ltd., a UK based company which develops and markets the TexRAD texture analysis software used in this study. All the other authors are from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India and certify that we had complete control over the study and the results submitted.
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