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Shouval, Roni; Labopin, Myriam; Unger, Ron; Giebel, Sebastian; Ciceri, Fabio; Schmid, Christoph; Esteve, Jordi; Baron, Frederic; Gorin, Norbert Claude; Savani, Bipin; Shimoni, Avichai; Mohty, Mohamad; Nagler, Arnon (2016): Prediction of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Related Mortality-Lessons Learned from the In-Silico Approach: A European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Acute Leukemia Working Party Data Mining Study.
In: PLOS ONE 11(3), e0150637


Models for prediction of allogeneic hematopoietic stem transplantation (HSCT) related mortality partially account for transplant risk. Improving predictive accuracy requires understating of prediction limiting factors, such as the statistical methodology used, number and quality of features collected, or simply the population size. Using an in-silico approach (i.e., iterative computerized simulations), based on machine learning (ML) algorithms, we set out to analyze these factors. A cohort of 25,923 adult acute leukemia patients from the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) registry was analyzed. Predictive objective was non-relapse mortality (NRM) 100 days following HSCT. Thousands of prediction models were developed under varying conditions: increasing sample size, specific subpopulations and an increasing number of variables, which were selected and ranked by separate feature selection algorithms. Depending on the algorithm, predictive performance plateaued on a population size of 6,611-8,814 patients, reaching a maximal area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.67. AUCs' of models developed on specific subpopulation ranged from 0.59 to 0.67 for patients in second complete remission and receiving reduced intensity conditioning, respectively. Only 3-5 variables were necessary to achieve near maximal AUCs. The top 3 ranking variables, shared by all algorithms were disease stage, donor type, and conditioning regimen. Our findings empirically demonstrate that with regards to NRM prediction, few variables "carry the weight" and that traditional HSCT data has been "worn out". "Breaking through" the predictive boundaries will likely require additional types of inputs.