MRI radiomics for early prediction of response to vaccine therapy in a transgenic mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Aydin Eresen, Jia Yang, Junjie Shangguan, Yu Li, Su Hu, Chong Sun, Yury Velichko, Vahid Yaghmai, Al B. Benson*, Zhuoli Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: There is a lack of well-established clinical tools for predicting dendritic cell (DC) vaccination response of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). DC vaccine treatment efficiency was demonstrated using histological analysis in pre-clinical studies; however, its usage was limited due to invasiveness. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential of MRI texture features for detection of early immunotherapeutic response as well as overall survival (OS) of PDAC subjects following dendritic cell (DC) vaccine treatment in LSL-Kras G12D ;LSL-Trp53 R172H ;Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) transgenic mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Materials and methods: KPC mice were treated with DC vaccines, and tumor growth was dynamically monitored. A total of a hundred and fifty-two image features of T2-weighted MRI images were analyzed using a kernel-based support vector machine model to detect treatment effects following the first and third weeks of the treatment. Moreover, univariate analysis was performed to describe the association between MRI texture and survival of KPC mice as well as histological tumor biomarkers. Results: OS for mice in the treatment group was 54.8 ± 22.54 days while the control group had 35.39 ± 17.17 days. A subset of three MRI features distinguished treatment effects starting from the first week with increasing accuracy throughout the treatment (75% to 94%). Besides, we observed that short-run emphasis of approximate wavelet coefficients had a positive correlation with the survival of the KPC mice (r = 0.78, p < 0.001). Additionally, tissue-specific MRI texture features showed positive association with fibrosis percentage (r = 0.84, p < 0.002), CK19 positive percentage (r = - 0.97, p < 0.001), and Ki67 positive cells (r = 0.81, p < 0.02) as histological disease biomarkers. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that MRI texture features can be used as imaging biomarkers for early detection of therapeutic response following DC vaccination in the KPC mouse model of PDAC. Besides, MRI texture can be utilized to characterize tumor microenvironment reflected with histology analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2020


  • Dendritic cell vaccine
  • Machine learning
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • Radiomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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