Assessing the inter-observer variability of Computer-Aided Nodule Assessment and Risk Yield (CANARY) to characterize lung adenocarcinomas.


Lung adenocarcinoma (ADC), the most common lung cancer type, is recognized increasingly as a disease spectrum. To guide individualized patient care, a non-invasive means of distinguishing indolent from aggressive ADC subtypes is needed urgently. Computer-Aided Nodule Assessment and Risk Yield (CANARY) is a novel computed tomography (CT) tool that characterizes early ADCs by detecting nine distinct CT voxel classes, representing a spectrum of lepidic to invasive growth, within an ADC. CANARY characterization has been shown to correlate with ADC histology and patient outcomes. This study evaluated the inter-observer variability of CANARY analysis. Three novice observers segmented and analyzed independently 95 biopsy-confirmed lung ADCs from Vanderbilt University Medical Center/Nashville Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare system (VUMC/TVHS) and the Mayo Clinic (Mayo). Inter-observer variability was measured using intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). The average ICC for all CANARY classes was 0.828 (95% CI 0.76, 0.895) for the VUMC/TVHS cohort, and 0.852 (95% CI 0.804, 0.901) for the Mayo cohort. The most invasive voxel classes had the highest ICC values. To determine whether nodule size influenced inter-observer variability, an additional cohort of 49 sub-centimeter nodules from Mayo were also segmented by three observers, with similar ICC results. Our study demonstrates that CANARY ADC classification between novice CANARY users has an acceptably low degree of variability, and supports the further development of CANARY for clinical application.