CT radiomic features of photodynamic priming in clinical pancreatic adenocarcinoma treatment

Phuong Vincent, Matthew E. Maeder, Brady Hunt, Bryan Linn, Tiffany Mangels-Dick, Tayyaba Hasan, Kenneth K. Wang, Brian W. Pogue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) offers localized focal ablation in unresectable pancreatic tumors while tissues surrounding the treatment volume experience a lower light dose, termed photodynamic priming (PDP). While PDP does not cause tissue damage, it has been demonstrated to promote vascular permeability, improve drug delivery, alleviate tumor cell density, and reduce desmoplasia and the resultant internal pressure in pre-clinical evaluation. Preclinical data supports PDP as a neoadjuvant therapy beneficial to subsequent chemotherapy or immunotherapy, yet it is challenging to quantify PDP effects in clinical treatment without additional imaging and testing. This study investigated the potential of radiomic analysis using CT scans acquired before and after PDT to identify areas experiencing PDT-induced necrosis as well as quantify PDP effects in the surrounding tissues. A total of 235 CT tumor slices from seven patients undergoing PDT for pancreatic tumors were examined. Radiomic features assessed included intensity metrics (CT number in Hounsfield Units) and texture analysis using several gray-level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) parameters. Pretreatment scans of tumor areas that resulted in PDT-induced necrosis showed statistically significant differences in intensity and texture-based features that could be used to predict the regions that did respond (paired t-test, response versus no response, p < 0.001). Evaluation of PDP effects on the surrounding tissues also demonstrated statistically significant differences, in tumor mean value, standard deviation, and GLCM parameters of contrast, dissimilarity and homogeneity (t-test, pre versus post, p < 0.001). Using leave-one-out cross validation, six intensity and texture-based features were combined into a support-vector machine model which demonstrated reliable prediction of treatment effects for six out of seven patients (ROC curve, AUC = 0.93). This study provides pilot evidence that texture features extracted from CT scans could be utilized as an effective clinical diagnostic prediction and assessment of PDT and PDP effects in pancreatic tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175006
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2021


  • CT texture analysis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Radiomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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