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Artificial intelligence-powered assessment of pathologic response to neoadjuvant atezolizumab in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: results from LCMC3 study

Journal of Thoracic Oncology 2023


Introduction: Pathologic response (PathR) by histopathologic assessment of resected specimens may be an early clinical end point associated with long-term outcomes with neoadjuvant therapy. Digital pathology may improve the efficiency and precision of PathR assessment. LCMC3 (NCT02927301) evaluated neoadjuvant atezolizumab in patients with resectable NSCLC and reported a 20% major PathR rate.

Methods: We determined PathR in primary tumor resection specimens using guidelines-based visual techniques and developed a convolutional neural network model using the same criteria to digitally measure the percent viable tumor on whole-slide images. Concordance was evaluated between visual determination of percent viable tumor (n = 151) performed by one of the 47 local pathologists and three central pathologists.

Results: For concordance among visual determination of percent viable tumor, the interclass correlation coefficient was 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.84-0.90). Agreement for visually assessed less than or equal to 10% viable tumor (major PathR [MPR]) in the primary tumor was 92.1% (Fleiss kappa = 0.83). Digitally assessed percent viable tumor (n = 136) correlated with visual assessment (Pearson r = 0.73; digital/visual slope = 0.28). Digitally assessed MPR predicted visually assessed MPR with outstanding discrimination (area under receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.98) and was associated with longer disease-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.09-0.97, p = 0.033) and overall survival (HR = 0.14, 95% CI: 0.02-1.06, p = 0.027) versus no MPR. Digitally assessed PathR strongly correlated with visual measurements.

Conclusions: Artificial intelligence-powered digital pathology exhibits promise in assisting pathologic assessments in neoadjuvant NSCLC clinical trials. The development of artificial intelligence-powered approaches in clinical settings may aid pathologists in clinical operations, including routine PathR assessments, and subsequently support improved patient care and long-term outcomes.
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Dacic et al.