TH-E-BRF-04: Characterizing the Response of Texture-Based CT Image Features for Quantification of Radiation-Induced Normal Lung Damage




Radiation induced lung damage (RILD) is an important dose-limiting toxicity for patients treated with radiation therapy. Scoring systems for RILD are subjective and limit our ability to find robust predictors of toxicity. We investigate the dose and time-related response for texture-based lung CT image features that serve as potential quantitative measures of RILD.


Pre- and post-RT diagnostic imaging studies were collected for retrospective analysis of 21 patients treated with photon or proton radiotherapy for NSCLC. Total lung and selected isodose contours (0–5, 5–15, 15–25Gy, etc.) were deformably registered from the treatment planning scan to the pre-RT and available follow-up CT studies for each patient. A CT image analysis framework was utilized to extract 3698 unique texture-based features (including co-occurrence and run length matrices) for each region of interest defined by the isodose contours and the total lung volume. Linear mixed models were fit to determine the relationship between feature change (relative to pre-RT), planned dose and time post-RT.


Seventy-three follow-up CT scans from 21 patients (median: 3 scans/patient) were analyzed to describe CT image feature change. At the p=0.05 level, dose affected feature change in 2706 (73.1%) of the available features. Similarly, time affected feature change in 408 (11.0%) of the available features. Both dose and time were significant predictors of feature change in a total of 231 (6.2%) of the extracted image features.


Characterizing the dose and time-related response of a large number of texture-based CT image features is the first step toward identifying objective measures of lung toxicity necessary for assessment and prediction of RILD. There is evidence that numerous features are sensitive to both the radiation dose and time after RT. Beyond characterizing feature response, further investigation is warranted to determine the utility of these features as surrogates of clinically significant lung injury.