Fully automatic prognostic biomarker extraction from metastatic prostate lesion segmentations in whole-body [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT images

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11 Citations (Scopus)



This study aimed to develop and assess an automated segmentation framework based on deep learning for metastatic prostate cancer (mPCa) lesions in whole-body [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT images for the purpose of extracting patient-level prognostic biomarkers.

Three hundred thirty-seven [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT images were retrieved from a cohort of biochemically recurrent PCa patients. A fully 3D convolutional neural network (CNN) is proposed which is based on the self-configuring nnU-Net framework, and was trained on a subset of these scans, with an independent test set reserved for model evaluation. Voxel-level segmentation results were assessed using the dice similarity coefficient (DSC), positive predictive value (PPV), and sensitivity. Sensitivity and PPV were calculated to assess lesion level detection; patient-level classification results were assessed by the accuracy, PPV, and sensitivity. Whole-body biomarkers total lesional volume (TLVauto) and total lesional uptake (TLUauto) were calculated from the automated segmentations, and Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to assess biomarker relationship with patient overall survival.

At the patient level, the accuracy, sensitivity, and PPV were all > 90%, with the best metric being the PPV (97.2%). PPV and sensitivity at the lesion level were 88.2% and 73.0%, respectively. DSC and PPV measured at the voxel level performed within measured inter-observer variability (DSC, median = 50.7% vs. second observer = 32%, p = 0.012; PPV, median = 64.9% vs. second observer = 25.7%, p < 0.005). Kaplan–Meier analysis of TLVauto and TLUauto showed they were significantly associated with patient overall survival (both p < 0.005).

The fully automated assessment of whole-body [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT images using deep learning shows significant promise, yielding accurate scan classification, voxel-level segmentations within inter-observer variability, and potentially clinically useful prognostic biomarkers associated with patient overall survival.
Trial registration

This study was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12615000608561) on 11 June 2015.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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