Colorectal Cancer Staging Using Three Clustering Methods Based on Preoperative Clinical Findings


Determination of the colorectal cancer stage is possible only after surgery based on pathology results. However, sometimes this may prove impossible. The aim of the present study was to determine colorectal cancer stage using three clustering methods based on preoperative clinical findings. All patients referred to the Colorectal Research Center of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences for colorectal cancer surgery during 2006 to 2014 were enrolled in the study. Accordingly, 117 cases participated. Three clustering algorithms were utilized including k-means, hierarchical and fuzzy c-means clustering methods. External validity measures such as sensitivity, specificity and accuracy were used for evaluation of the methods. The results revealed maximum accuracy and sensitivity values for the hierarchical and a maximum specificity value for the fuzzy c-means clustering methods. Furthermore, according to the internal validity measures for the present data set, the optimal number of clusters was two (silhouette coefficient) and the fuzzy c-means algorithm was more appropriate than the k-means clustering approach by increasing the number of clusters.