Assessment of tumor heterogeneity: an emerging imaging tool for clinical practice?

Authors: Fergus Davnall, Connie S. P. Yip, Gunnar Ljungqvist, Mariyah Selmi, Francesca Ng, Bal Sanghera, Balaji Ganeshan, Kenneth A. Miles, Gary J. Cook and Vicky Goh

Tumor spatial heterogeneity is an important prognostic factor, which may be reflected in medical images

Image texture analysis is an approach of quantifying heterogeneity that may not be appreciated by the naked eye. Different methods can be applied including statistical-, model-, and transform-based methods.

Early evidence suggests that texture analysis has the potential to augment diagnosis and characterization as well as improve tumor staging and therapy response assessment in oncological practice.

This review provides an overview of the application of texture analysis with different imaging modalities, CT, MRI, and PET, to date and describes the technical challenges that have limited its widespread clinical implementation so far. With further efforts to refine its application, image texture analysis has the potential to develop into a valuable clinical tool for oncologic imaging.