BACKGROUND: Microvascular invasion (MVI) is an independent risk factor for postoperative recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To perform a meta-analysis to investigate the diagnostic performance of radiomics for the preoperative evaluation of MVI in HCC and the effect of potential factors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library for studies focusing on the preoperative evaluation of MVI in HCC with radiomics methods. Data extraction and quality assessment of the retrieved studies were performed. Statistical analysis included data pooling, heterogeneity testing and forest plot construction. Meta-regression and subgroup analyses were performed to reveal the effect of potential explanatory factors [design, combination of clinical factors, imaging modality, number of participants, and Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 (QUADAS-2) applicability risk] on the diagnostic performance.
RESULTS: Twenty-two studies with 4,129 patients focusing on radiomics for the preoperative prediction of MVI in HCC were included. The pooled sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were 84% (95% CI: 81, 87), 83% (95% CI: 78, 87) and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.87, 0.92). Substantial heterogeneity was observed among the studies (I²=94%, 95% CI: 88, 99). Meta-regression showed that all investigative covariates contributed to the heterogeneity in the sensitivity analysis (P < 0.05). Combined clinical factors, MRI, CT and number of participants contributed to the heterogeneity in the specificity analysis (P < 0.05). Subgroup analysis showed that the pooled sensitivity, specificity and AUC estimates were similar among studies with CT or MRI.
CONCLUSION: Radiomics is a promising noninvasive method that has high preoperative diagnostic performance for MVI status. Radiomics based on CT and MRI had a comparable predictive performance for MVI in HCC. Prospective, large-scale and multicenter studies with radiomics methods will improve the diagnostic power for MVI in the future.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=259363, identifier CRD42021259363.