Given growing clinical needs, in recent years Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques have increasingly been used to define the best approaches for survival assessment and prediction in patients with brain tumors. Advances in computational resources, and the collection of (mainly) public databases, have promoted this rapid development. This narrative review of the current state-of-the-art aimed to survey current applications of AI in predicting survival in patients with brain tumors, with a focus on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An extensive search was performed on PubMed and Google Scholar using a Boolean research query based on MeSH terms and restricting the search to the period between 2012 and 2022. Fifty studies were selected, mainly based on Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), radiomics-based methods, and methods that exploit traditional imaging techniques for survival assessment. In addition, we focused on two distinct tasks related to survival assessment: the first on the classification of subjects into survival classes (short and long-term or eventually short, mid and long-term) to stratify patients in distinct groups. The second focused on quantification, in days or months, of the individual survival interval. Our survey showed excellent state-of-the-art methods for the first, with accuracy up to ∼98%. The latter task appears to be the most challenging, but state-of-the-art techniques showed promising results, albeit with limitations, with C-Index up to ∼0.91. In conclusion, according to the specific task, the available computational methods perform differently, and the choice of the best one to use is non-univocal and dependent on many aspects. Unequivocally, the use of features derived from quantitative imaging has been shown to be advantageous for AI applications, including survival prediction. This evidence from the literature motivates further research in the field of AI-powered methods for survival prediction in patients with brain tumors, in particular, using the wealth of information provided by quantitative MRI techniques.
artificial intelligence, brain tumors, machine learning, magnetic resonance imaging, survival prediction