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Objective : Diagnostic tests, such as Immunoscore, predict prognosis in patients with colon cancer. However, additional prognostic markers could be detected on pathological slides using artificial intelligence tools.
Design : We have developed a software to detect colon tumour, healthy mucosa, stroma and immune cells on CD3 and CD8 stained slides. The lymphocyte density and surface area were quantified automatically in the tumour core (TC) and invasive margin (IM). Using a LASSO algorithm, DGMate (DiGital tuMor pArameTErs), we detected digital parameters within the tumour cells related to patient outcomes.
Results : Within the dataset of 1018 patients, we observed that a poorer relapse-free survival (RFS) was associated with high IM stromal area (HR 5.65; 95% CI 2.34 to 13.67; p<0.0001) and high DGMate (HR 2.72; 95% CI 1.92 to 3.85; p<0.001). Higher CD3+ TC, CD3+ IM and CD8+ TC densities were significantly associated with a longer RFS. Analysis of variance showed that CD3+ TC yielded a similar prognostic value to the classical CD3/CD8 Immunoscore (p=0.44). A combination of the IM stromal area, DGMate and CD3, designated ‘DGMuneS’, outperformed Immunoscore when used in estimating patients’ prognosis (C-index=0.601 vs 0.578, p=0.04) and was independently associated with patient outcomes following Cox multivariate analysis. A predictive nomogram based on DGMuneS and clinical variables identified a group of patients with less than 10% relapse risk and another group with a 50% relapse risk.
Conclusion : These findings suggest that artificial intelligence can potentially improve patient care by assisting pathologists in better defining stage III colon cancer patients’ prognosis.
Cynthia Reichling,Julien Taieb,Valentin Derangere,Quentin Klopfenstein,Karine Le Malicot,Jean-Marc Gornet,Hakim Becheur,Francis Fein,Oana Cojocarasu,Marie Christine Kaminsky,Jean Paul Lagasse,Dominique Luet,Suzanne Nguyen,Pierre-Luc Etienne,Mohamed Gasmi,Andre Vanoli,Hervé Perrier,Pierre Laurent Puig,Jean Francois Emile,Come Lepage,François Ghiringhelli