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Machine-Learning Provides Patient-Specific Prediction of Metastatic Risk Based on Innovative, Mechanobiology Assay


Cancer mortality is mostly related to metastasis. Metastasis is currently prognosed via histopathology, disease-statistics, or genetics; those are potentially inaccurate, not rapidly available and require known markers. We had developed a rapid (~ 2 h) mechanobiology-based approach to provide early prognosis of the clinical likelihood for metastasis. Specifically, invasive cell-subsets seeded on impenetrable, physiological-stiffness polyacrylamide gels forcefully indent the gels, while non-invasive/benign cells do not. The number of indenting cells and their attained depths, the mechanical invasiveness, accurately define the metastatic risk of tumors and cell-lines. Utilizing our experimental database, we compare the capacity of several machine learning models to predict the metastatic risk. Models underwent supervised training on individual experiments using classification from literature and commercial-sources for established cell-lines and clinical histopathology reports for tumor samples. We evaluated 2-class models, separating invasive/non-invasive (e.g. benign) samples, and obtained sensitivity and specificity of 0.92 and 1, respectively; this surpasses other works. We also introduce a novel approach, using 5-class models (i.e. normal, benign, cancer-metastatic-non/low/high) that provided average sensitivity and specificity of 0.69 and 0.91. Combining our rapid, mechanical invasiveness assay with machine learning classification can provide accurate and early prognosis of metastatic risk, to support choice of treatments and disease management.

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The work was partially funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Medical Devices Program (Grant no. 3-17427), the Polak Fund for Applied Research, the Ber-Lehmsdorf Foundation, and the Gerald O. Mann Charitable Foundation.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Daphne Weihs.

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Rozen, R., Weihs, D. Machine-Learning Provides Patient-Specific Prediction of Metastatic Risk Based on Innovative, Mechanobiology Assay. Ann Biomed Eng 49, 1774–1783 (2021).

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  • Classification models
  • Metastasis prediction
  • Metastasis prognosis
  • Machine learning models