Application of machine learning techniques for predicting survival in ovarian cancer

Amir Sorayaie Azar, Samin Babaei Rikan, Amin Naemi, Jamshid Bagherzadeh Mohasefi, Habibollah Pirnejad, Matin Bagherzadeh Mohasefi, Uffe Kock Wiil

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of mortality among women in the United States. Ovarian cancer is also known as forgotten cancer or silent disease. The survival of ovarian cancer patients depends on several factors, including the treatment process and the prognosis.

METHODS: The ovarian cancer patients' dataset is compiled from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. With the help of a clinician, the dataset is curated, and the most relevant features are selected. Pearson's second coefficient of skewness test is used to evaluate the skewness of the dataset. Pearson correlation coefficient is also used to investigate the associations between features. Statistical test is utilized to evaluate the significance of the features. Six Machine Learning (ML) models, including K-Nearest Neighbors , Support Vector Machine (SVM), Decision Tree (DT), Random Forest (RF), Adaptive Boosting (AdaBoost), and Extreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost), are implemented for survival prediction in both classification and regression approaches. An interpretable method, Shapley Additive Explanations (SHAP), is applied to clarify the decision-making process and determine the importance of each feature in prediction. Additionally, DTs of the RF model are displayed to show how the model predicts the survival intervals.

RESULTS: Our results show that RF (Accuracy = 88.72%, AUC = 82.38%) and XGBoost (Root Mean Squad Error (RMSE)) = 20.61%, R2 = 0.4667) have the best performance for classification and regression approaches, respectively. Furthermore, using the SHAP method along with extracted DTs of the RF model, the most important features in the dataset are identified. Histologic type ICD-O-3, chemotherapy recode, year of diagnosis, age at diagnosis, tumor stage, and grade are the most important determinant factors in survival prediction.

CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first study that develops various ML models to predict ovarian cancer patients' survival on the SEER database in both classification and regression approaches. These ML algorithms also achieve more accurate results and outperform statistical methods. Furthermore, our study is the first study to use the SHAP method to increase confidence and transparency of the proposed models' prediction for clinicians. Moreover, our developed models, as an automated auxiliary tool, can help clinicians to have a better understanding of the estimated survival as well as important features that affect survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number345
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Machine Learning Lab of Urmia University for providing the resources needed to implement this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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