Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(2):475-486. doi:10.7150/ijbs.55716 This issue


Application of radiomics and machine learning in head and neck cancers

Zhouying Peng, Yumin Wang, Yaxuan Wang, Sijie Jiang, Ruohao Fan, Hua Zhang, Weihong Jiang

Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410078, Hunan, China.

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Peng Z, Wang Y, Wang Y, Jiang S, Fan R, Zhang H, Jiang W. Application of radiomics and machine learning in head and neck cancers. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(2):475-486. doi:10.7150/ijbs.55716. Available from

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Graphic abstract

With the continuous development of medical image informatics technology, more and more high-throughput quantitative data could be extracted from digital medical images, which has resulted in a new kind of omics-Radiomics. In recent years, in addition to genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, radiomic has attracted the interest of more and more researchers. Compared to other omics, radiomics can be perfectly integrated with clinical data, even with the pathology and molecular biomarker, so that the study can be closer to the clinical reality and more revealing of the tumor development. Mass data will also be generated in this process. Machine learning, due to its own characteristics, has a unique advantage in processing massive radiomic data. By analyzing mass amounts of data with strong clinical relevance, people can construct models that more accurately reflect tumor development and progression, thereby providing the possibility of personalized and sequential treatment of patients. As one of the cancer types whose treatment and diagnosis rely on imaging examination, radiomics has a very broad application prospect in head and neck cancers (HNC). Until now, there have been some notable results in HNC. In this review, we will introduce the concepts and workflow of radiomics and machine learning and their current applications in head and neck cancers, as well as the directions and applications of artificial intelligence in the treatment and diagnosis of HNC.

Keywords: radiomics, machine learning, head and neck cancers, sequential treatment, big data