A machine learning approach to distinguish between knees without and with osteoarthritis using MRI-based radiomic features from tibial bone

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Objectives: Our aim was to assess the ability of semi-automatically extracted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–based radiomic features from tibial subchondral bone to distinguish between knees without and with osteoarthritis. Methods: The right knees of 665 females from the population-based Rotterdam Study scanned with 1.5T MRI were analyzed. A fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition sequence was used for the quantitative bone analyses. Tibial bone was segmented using a method that combines multi-atlas and appearance models. Radiomic features related to the shape and texture were calculated from six volumes of interests (VOIs) in the proximal tibia. Machine learning–based Elastic Net models with 10-fold cross-validation were used to distinguish between knees without and with MRI Osteoarthritis Knee Score (MOAKS)–based tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. Performance of the covariate (age and body mass index), image features, and combined covariate + image features models were assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC AUC). Results: Of 665 analyzed knees, 76 (11.4%) had osteoarthritis. An ROC AUC of 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60–0.75) was obtained using the covariate model. The image features model yielded an ROC AUC of 0.80 (CI: 0.73–0.87). The model that combined image features from all VOIs and covariates yielded an ROC AUC of 0.80 (CI: 0.73–0.87). Conclusion: Our results suggest that radiomic features are useful imaging biomarkers of subchondral bone for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. An advantage of assessing bone on MRI instead of on radiographs is that other tissues can be assessed simultaneously. Key Points: • Subchondral bone plays a role in the osteoarthritis disease processes. • MRI radiomics is a potential method for quantifying changes in subchondral bone. • Semi-automatically extracted radiomic features of tibia differ between subjects without and with osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8513-8521
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
Early online date21 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska Curie grant agreement no 707404. The Rotterdam Study is financially supported by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research NWO Investments (no. 175.010.2005.011, 911-03-012), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (014-93-015; RIDE2), the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI)/Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (project no. 050-060-810), Netherlands Consortium of Healthy Aging, and the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam. The funding sources had no role in the study design, data collection or analysis, interpretation of data, writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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