Cross-site prognosis prediction for nasopharyngeal carcinoma from incomplete multi-modal data.

Medical image analysis(2024)

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Accurate prognosis prediction for nasopharyngeal carcinoma based on magnetic resonance (MR) images assists in the guidance of treatment intensity, thus reducing the risk of recurrence and death. To reduce repeated labor and sufficiently explore domain knowledge, aggregating labeled/annotated data from external sites enables us to train an intelligent model for a clinical site with unlabeled data. However, this task suffers from the challenges of incomplete multi-modal examination data fusion and image data heterogeneity among sites. This paper proposes a cross-site survival analysis method for prognosis prediction of nasopharyngeal carcinoma from domain adaptation viewpoint. Utilizing a Cox model as the basic framework, our method equips it with a cross-attention based multi-modal fusion regularization. This regularization model effectively fuses the multi-modal information from multi-parametric MR images and clinical features onto a domain-adaptive space, despite the absence of some modalities. To enhance the feature discrimination, we also extend the contrastive learning technique to censored data cases. Compared with the conventional approaches which directly deploy a trained survival model in a new site, our method achieves superior prognosis prediction performance in cross-site validation experiments. These results highlight the key role of cross-site adaptability of our method and support its value in clinical practice.
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