Machine learning methods in sellar region diseases present a particular challenge because of the complexity and the necessity for reproducibility. This systematic review aims to compile the current literature on sellar region diseases that utilized machine learning methods and to propose a quality assessment tool and reporting checklist for future studies.
PubMed and Web of Science were searched to identify relevant studies. The quality assessment included five categories: unmet needs, reproducibility, robustness, generalizability and clinical significance.
Seventeen studies were included with the diagnosis of general pituitary neoplasms, acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, craniopharyngioma and growth hormone deficiency. 87.5% of the studies arbitrarily chose one or two machine learning models. One study chose ensemble models, and one study compared several models. 43.8% of studies did not provide the platform for model training, and roughly half did not offer parameters or hyperparameters. 62.5% of the studies provided a valid method to avoid over-fitting, but only five reported variations in the validation statistics. Only one study validated the algorithm in a different external database. Four studies reported how to interpret the predictors, and most studies (68.8%) suggested possible clinical applications of the developed algorithm. The workflow of a machine-learning study and the recommended reporting items were also provided based on the results.
Machine learning methods were used to predict diagnosis and posttreatment outcomes in sellar region diseases. Though most studies had substantial unmet need and proposed possible clinical application, replicability, robustness and generalizability were major limits in current studies.