Evaluation of classification and regression tree (CART) model in weight loss prediction following head and neck cancer radiation therapy

Zhi Cheng, Minoru Nakatsugawa, Chen Hu, Scott P. Robertson, Xuan Hui, Joseph A. Moore, Michael R. Bowers, Ana P. Kiess, Brandi R. Page, Laura Burns, Mariah Muse, Amanda Choflet, Kousuke Sakaue, Shinya Sugiyama, Kazuki Utsunomiya, John W. Wong, Todd R. McNutt, Harry Quon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: We explore whether a knowledge–discovery approach building a Classification and Regression Tree (CART) prediction model for weight loss (WL) in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients treated with radiation therapy (RT) is feasible. Methods and materials: HNC patients from 2007 to 2015 were identified from a prospectively collected database Oncospace. Two prediction models at different time points were developed to predict weight loss ≥5 kg at 3 months post-RT by CART algorithm: (1) during RT planning using patient demographic, delineated dose data, planning target volume–organs at risk shape relationships data and (2) at the end of treatment (EOT) using additional on-treatment toxicities and quality of life data. Results: Among 391 patients identified, WL predictors during RT planning were International Classification of Diseases diagnosis; dose to masticatory and superior constrictor muscles, larynx, and parotid; and age. At EOT, patient-reported oral intake, diagnosis, N stage, nausea, pain, dose to larynx, parotid, and low-dose planning target volume–larynx distance were significant predictive factors. The area under the curve during RT and EOT was 0.773 and 0.821, respectively. Conclusions: We demonstrate the feasibility and potential value of an informatics infrastructure that has facilitated insight into the prediction of WL using the CART algorithm. The prediction accuracy significantly improved with the inclusion of additional treatment-related data and has the potential to be leveraged as a strategy to develop a learning health system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-355
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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