The status of lymph node (LN) metastases plays a decisive role in the selection of surgical procedures and post-operative treatment. Several histopathologic features, known as predictors of LN metastasis, are commonly available post-operatively. Medical imaging improved pre-operative diagnosis, but the results are not fully satisfactory due to substantial false positives. Thus, a reliable and robust method for pre-operative assessment of LN status is urgently required. We developed a prediction model in a training set from the TCGA-BLCA cohort including 196 bladder urothelial carcinoma samples with confirmed LN metastasis status. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression was harnessed for dimension reduction, feature selection, and LNM signature building. Multivariable logistic regression was used to develop the prognostic model, incorporating the LNM signature, and a genomic mutation of MLL2, and was presented with a LNM nomogram. The performance of the nomogram was assessed with respect to its calibration, discrimination, and clinical usefulness. Internal validation was evaluated by the testing set from the TCGA cohort and independent validation was assessed by two independent cohorts. The LNM signature, which consisted of 48 selected features, was significantly associated with LN status (p < 0.005 for both the training and testing sets of the TCGA cohort). Predictors contained in the individualized prediction nomogram included the LNM signature and MLL2 mutation status. The model demonstrated good discrimination, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 98.7% (85.3% for testing set) and good calibration with p = 0.973 (0.485 for testing set) in the Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness of fit test. Decision curve analysis demonstrated that the LNM nomogram was clinically useful. This study presents a pre-operative nomogram incorporating a LNM signature and a genomic mutation, which can be conveniently utilized to facilitate pre-operative individualized prediction of LN metastasis in patients with bladder urothelial carcinoma.

Frontiers in oncology. 2019 Jun 21*** epublish ***

Xiaofan Lu, Yang Wang, Liyun Jiang, Jun Gao, Yue Zhu, Wenjun Hu, Jiashuo Wang, Xinjia Ruan, Zhengbao Xu, Xiaowei Meng, Bing Zhang, Fangrong Yan

Research Center of Biostatistics and Computational Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China., Department of Radiology, The Affiliated Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China.