Purpose: To evaluate the value of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based texture analysis of extraocular muscle (EOM) and orbital fat (OF) in monitoring and predicting the response to glucocorticoid (GC) therapy in patients with thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO).
Methods: Thirty-seven active and moderate-to-severe TAO patients (responders, n=23; unresponders, n=14) were retrospectively enrolled. MRI-based texture parameters (entropy, uniformity, skewness and kurtosis) of EOM and OF were measured before and after GC therapy, and compared between groups. Correlations between the changes of clinical activity score (CAS) and imaging parameters before and after treatment were assessed. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to evaluate the predictive value of identified variables.
Results: Responsive TAOs showed significantly decreased entropy and increased uniformity at EOM and OF after GC therapy (p<0.01), while unresponders showed no significance. Changes of entropy and uniformity at EOM and OF were significantly correlated with changes of CAS before and after treatment (p<0.05). Responders showed significantly lower entropy and higher uniformity at EOM than unresponders before treatment (p<0.01). Entropy and uniformity of EOM and disease duration were identified as independent predictors for responsive TAOs. Combination of all three variables demonstrated optimal efficiency (area under curve, 0.802) and sensitivity (82.6%), and disease duration alone demonstrated optimal specificity (100%) for predicting responsive TAOs.
Conclusion: MRI-based texture analysis can reflect histopathological heterogeneity of orbital tissues. It could be useful for monitoring and predicting the response to GC in TAO patients.