Multi-objective ensemble deep learning using electronic health records to predict outcomes after lung cancer radiotherapy

Rongfang Wang, Yaochung Weng, Zhiguo Zhou, Liyuan Chen, Hongxia Hao, Jing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Accurately predicting treatment outcome is crucial for creating personalized treatment plans and follow-up schedules. Electronic health records (EHRs) contain valuable patient-specific information that can be leveraged to improve outcome prediction. We propose a reliable multi-objective ensemble deep learning (MoEDL) method that uses features extracted from EHRs to predict high risk of treatment failure after radiotherapy in patients with lung cancer. The dataset used in this study contains EHRs of 814 patients who had not achieved disease-free status and 193 patients who were disease-free with at least one year follow-up time after lung cancer radiation therapy. The proposed MoEDL consists of three phases: (1) training with dynamic ensemble deep learning; (2) model selection with adaptive multi-objective optimization; and (3) testing with evidential reasoning (ER) fusion. Specifically, in the training phase, we employ deep perceptron networks as base learners to handle various issues with EHR data. The architecture and key hyper-parameters of each base learner are dynamically adjusted to increase the diversity of learners while reducing the time spent tuning hyper-parameters. Furthermore, we integrate the snapshot ensembles (SE) restarting strategy, multi-objective optimization, and ER fusion to improve the prediction robustness and accuracy of individual networks. The SE restarting strategy can yield multiple candidate models at no additional training cost in the training stage. The multi-objective model simultaneously considers sensitivity, specificity, and AUC as objective functions, overcoming the limitations of single-objective-based model selection. For the testing stage, we utilized an analytic ER rule to fuse the output scores from each optimal model to obtain reliable and robust predictive results. Our experimental results demonstrate that MoEDL can perform better than other conventional methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245005
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 13 2019


  • electronic health records
  • ensemble deep learning
  • lung cancer radiotherapy
  • multi-objective optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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