Development and validation of a predictive model for the diagnosis of solid solitary pulmonary nodules using data mining methods

Yangwei Xiang, Yifeng Sun, Yuan Liu, Baohui Han, Qunhui Chen, Xiaodan Ye, Li Zhu, Wen Gao, Wentao Fang


Background: The purpose of this study is to develop a predictive model to accurately predict the malignancy of solid solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) by data mining methods.
Methods: A training cohort of 388 consecutive patients with solid SPNs was used to develop a predictive model to evaluate the malignancy of solid SPNs. By using SPSS Modeler, we utilized logistic regression (LR), artificial neural network (ANN), k-nearest neighbor (KNN), random forest (RF), and support vector machines (SVM) classifiers to build predictive models. Another cohort of 200 consecutive patients with solid SPNs was used to verify the accuracy of the predictive model. Predictive performance was evaluated using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).
Results: There was no significant difference in patients’ characteristics between the training cohort and the validation cohort. The AUCs of LR, ANN, KNN, RF, and SVM models for the validation cohort were 0.874±0.0280 (P=0.605), 0.833±0.0351 (P=0.104), 0.792±0.0418 (P=0.014), 0.775±0.0400 (P=0.013), and 0.890±0.0323 (reference), respectively. The SVM algorithm had the highest AUC, and the best sensitivity (90.3%), specificity (80.4%), positive predictive value (93.9%), negative predictive value (71.2%) and accuracy (88.0%) for the validation cohort among the five models.
Conclusions: Data mining by SVM might be a useful auxiliary algorithm in predicting malignancy of solid SPNs.