April 12, 2021

MRI Radiomic Signature of White Matter Hyperintensities Is Associated with Clinical Phenotypes

Introduction: Neuroimaging measurements of brain structural integrity are thought to be surrogates for brain health, but precise assessments require dedicated advanced image acquisitions. By means of describing the texture of conventional images beyond what meets the naked eye, radiomic analyses hold potential for evaluating brain health. We sought to: 1) evaluate this novel approach to assess brain structural integrity by predicting white matter hyperintensities burdens (WMH) and 2) uncover associations between predictive radiomic features and patients’ clinical phenotypes. Methods: Our analyses were based on a multi-site cohort of 4,163 acute ischemic strokes (AIS) patients with T2-FLAIR MR images and corresponding deep-learning-generated total brain and WMH segmentation. Radiomic features were extracted from normal-appearing brain tissue (brain mask-WMH mask). Radiomics-based prediction of personalized WMH burden was done using ElasticNet linear regression. We built a radiomic signature of WMH with the most stable selected features predictive of WMH burden and then related this signature to clinical variables (age, sex, hypertension (HTN), atrial fibrillation (AF), diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), and history of smoking) using canonical correlation analysis. Results: Radiomic features were highly predictive of WMH burden (R2=0.855{+/-}0.011). Seven pairs of canonical variates (CV) significantly correlated the radiomics signature of WMH and clinical traits with respective canonical correlations of 0.81, 0.65, 0.42, 0.24, 0.20, 0.15, and 0.15 (FDR-corrected p-valuesCV1-6<.001, p-valueCV7=.012). The clinical CV1 was mainly influenced by age, CV2 by sex, CV3 by history of smoking and DM, CV4 by HTN, CV5 by AF and DM, CV6 by CAD, and CV7 by CAD and DM. Conclusion: Radiomics extracted from T2-FLAIR images of AIS patients capture microstructural damage of the cerebral parenchyma and correlate with clinical phenotypes. Further research could evaluate radiomics to predict the progression of WMH.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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