Differential Diagnosis and Molecular Stratification of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors on CT Images Using a Radiomics Approach

Martijn P.A. Starmans*, Milea J.M. Timbergen, Melissa Vos, Michel Renckens, Dirk J. Grünhagen, Geert J.L.H. van Leenders, Wiro J. Niessen, Jacob J. Visser, Stefan Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Treatment planning of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) includes distinguishing GISTs from other intra-abdominal tumors and GISTs’ molecular analysis. The aim of this study was to evaluate radiomics for distinguishing GISTs from other intra-abdominal tumors, and in GISTs, predict the c-KIT, PDGFRA, BRAF mutational status, and mitotic index (MI). Patients diagnosed at the Erasmus MC between 2004 and 2017, with GIST or non-GIST intra-abdominal tumors and a contrast-enhanced venous-phase CT, were retrospectively included. Tumors were segmented, from which 564 image features were extracted. Prediction models were constructed using a combination of machine learning approaches. The evaluation was performed in a 100 × random-split cross-validation. Model performance was compared to that of three radiologists. One hundred twenty-five GISTs and 122 non-GISTs were included. The GIST vs. non-GIST radiomics model had a mean area under the curve (AUC) of 0.77. Three radiologists had an AUC of 0.69, 0.76, and 0.84, respectively. The radiomics model had an AUC of 0.52 for c-KIT, 0.56 for c-KIT exon 11, and 0.52 for the MI. The numbers of PDGFRA, BRAF, and other c-KIT mutations were too low for analysis. Our radiomics model was able to distinguish GISTs from non-GISTs with a performance similar to three radiologists, but less observer dependent. Therefore, it may aid in the early diagnosis of GIST, facilitating rapid referral to specialized treatment centers. As the model was not able to predict any genetic or molecular features, it cannot aid in treatment planning yet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-136
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors
  • Machine learning
  • Radiomics
  • Sarcoma
  • Tomography
  • X-ray computed


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