Risk Assessment of Lymph Node Metastases in Endometrial Cancer Patients: A Causal Approach

Alessio Zanga, Alice Bernasconi, Peter J. F. Lucas, Hanny Pijnenborg, Casper Reijnen, Marco Scutari, Fabio Stella
Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI)
2023-05-16 16:00:00
Assessing the pre-operative risk of lymph node metastases in endometrial cancer patients is a complex and challenging task. In principle, machine learning and deep learning models are flexible and expressive enough to capture the dynamics of clinical risk assessment. However, in this setting we are limited to observational data with quality issues, missing values, small sample size and high dimensionality: we cannot reliably learn such models from limited observational data with these sources of bias. Instead, we choose to learn a causal Bayesian network to mitigate the issues above and to leverage the prior knowledge on endometrial cancer available from clinicians and physicians. We introduce a causal discovery algorithm for causal Bayesian networks based on bootstrap resampling, as opposed to the single imputation used in related works. Moreover, we include a context variable to evaluate whether selection bias results in learning spurious associations. Finally, we discuss the strengths and limitations of our findings in light of the presence of missing data that may be missing-not-at-random, which is common in real-world clinical settings.
PDF: Risk Assessment of Lymph Node Metastases in Endometrial Cancer Patients: A Causal Approach.pdf
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