Purpose: To assess the ability of radiomic features (RF) extracted from contrast-enhanced CT images (ceCT) and non-contrast-enhanced (non-ceCT) in discriminating histopathologic characteristics of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (panNET). Methods: panNET contours were delineated on pre-surgical ceCT and non-ceCT. First- second- and higher-order RF (adjusted to eliminate redundancy) were extracted and correlated with histological panNET grade (G1 vs G2/G3), metastasis, lymph node invasion, microscopic vascular infiltration. Mann–Whitney with Bonferroni corrected p values assessed differences. Discriminative power of significant RF was calculated for each of the end-points. The performance of conventional-imaged-based-parameters was also compared to RF. Results: Thirty-nine patients were included (mean age 55-years-old; 24 male). Mean diameters of the lesions were 24 × 27 mm. Sixty-nine RF were considered. Sphericity could discriminate high grade tumors (AUC = 0.79, p = 0.002). Tumor volume (AUC = 0.79, p = 0.003) and several non-ceCT and ceCT RF were able to identify microscopic vascular infiltration: voxel-alignment, neighborhood intensity-difference and intensity-size-zone families (AUC ≥ 0.75, p < 0.001); voxel-alignment, intensity-size-zone and co-occurrence families (AUC ≥ 0.78, p ≤ 0.002), respectively). Non-ceCT neighborhood-intensity-difference (AUC = 0.75, p = 0.009) and ceCT intensity-size-zone (AUC = 0.73, p = 0.014) identified lymph nodal invasion; several non-ceCT and ceCT voxel-alignment family features were discriminative for metastasis (p < 0.01, AUC = 0.80–0.85). Conventional CT ‘necrosis’ could discriminate for microscopic vascular invasion (AUC = 0.76, p = 0.004) and ‘arterial vascular invasion’ for microscopic metastasis (AUC = 0.86, p = 0.001). No conventional-imaged-based-parameter was significantly associated with grade and lymph node invasion. Conclusions: Radiomic features can discriminate histopathology of panNET, suggesting a role of radiomics as a non-invasive tool for tumor characterization. Trial registration number: NCT03967951, 30/05/2019
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