PURPOSE: Allogenic hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HCT) is a curative therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Relapse post-HCT is the most common cause of treatment failure and is associated with a poor prognosis. Pathologist-based visual assessment of aspirate images and the manual myeloblast counting have shown to be predictive of relapse post-HCT. However, this approach is time-intensive and subjective. The premise of this study was to explore whether computer-extracted morphology and texture features from myeloblasts’ chromatin patterns could help predict relapse and prognosticate relapse-free survival (RFS) after HCT.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, Wright-Giemsa-stained post-HCT aspirate images were collected from 92 patients with AML/MDS who were randomly assigned into a training set (St = 52) and a validation set (Sv = 40). First, a deep learning-based model was developed to segment myeloblasts. A total of 214 texture and shape descriptors were then extracted from the segmented myeloblasts on aspirate slide images. A risk score on the basis of texture features of myeloblast chromatin patterns was generated by using the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator with a Cox regression model.
RESULTS: The risk score was associated with RFS in St (hazard ratio = 2.38; 95% CI, 1.4 to 3.95; P = .0008) and Sv (hazard ratio = 1.57; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.45; P = .044). We also demonstrate that this resulting signature was predictive of AML relapse with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.71 within Sv. All the relevant code is available at GitHub.
CONCLUSION: The texture features extracted from chromatin patterns of myeloblasts can predict post-HCT relapse and prognosticate RFS of patients with AML/MDS.