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The potential of machine learning models to identify malnutrition diagnosed by GLIM combined with NRS-2002 in colorectal cancer patients without weight loss information.

Clinical Nutrition 2024 April 6
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The key step of the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) is nutritional risk screening, while the most appropriate screening tool for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients is yet unknown. The GLIM diagnosis relies on weight loss information, and bias or even failure to recall patients' historical weight can cause misestimates of malnutrition. We aimed to compare the suitability of several screening tools in GLIM diagnosis, and establish machine learning (ML) models to predict malnutrition in CRC patients without weight loss information.

METHODS: This multicenter cohort study enrolled 4487 CRC patients. The capability of GLIM diagnoses combined with four screening tools in predicting survival probability was compared by Kaplan-Meier curves, and the most accurate one was selected as the malnutrition reference standard. Participants were randomly assigned to a training cohort (n = 3365) and a validation cohort (n = 1122). Several ML approaches were adopted to establish models for predicting malnutrition without weight loss data. We estimated feature importance and reserved the top 30% of variables for retraining simplified models. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated to assess and compare model performance.

RESULTS: NRS-2002 was the most suitable screening tool for GLIM diagnosis in CRC patients, with the highest hazard ratio (1.59; 95% CI, 1.43-1.77). A total of 2076 (46.3%) patients were malnourished diagnosed by GLIM combined with NRS-2002. The simplified random forest (RF) model outperformed other models with an AUC of 0.830 (95% CI, 0.805-0.854), and accuracy, sensitivity and specificity were 0.775, 0.835 and 0.742, respectively. We deployed an online application based on the simplified RF model to accurately estimate malnutrition probability in CRC patients without weight loss information (https://zzuwtt1998.shinyapps.io/dynnomapp/).

CONCLUSIONS: Nutrition Risk Screening 2002 was the optimal initial nutritional risk screening tool in the GLIM process. The RF model outperformed other models, and an online prediction tool was developed to properly identify patients at high risk of malnutrition.

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