Psychol Med. 2024 Mar 27:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S0033291724000497. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Less than a third of patients with depression achieve successful remission with standard first-step antidepressant monotherapy. The process for determining appropriate second-step care is often based on clinical intuition and involves a protracted course of trial and error, resulting in substantial patient burden and unnecessary delay in the provision of optimal treatment. To address this problem, we adopt an ensemble machine learning approach to improve prediction accuracy of remission in response to second-step treatments.

METHOD: Data were derived from the Level 2 stage of the STAR*D dataset, which included 1439 patients who were randomized into one of seven different second-step treatment strategies after failing to achieve remission during first-step antidepressant treatment. Ensemble machine learning models, comprising several individual algorithms, were evaluated using nested cross-validation on 155 predictor variables including clinical and demographic measures.

RESULTS: The ensemble machine learning algorithms exhibited differential classification performance in predicting remission status across the seven second-step treatments. For the full set of predictors, AUC values ranged from 0.51 to 0.82 depending on the second-step treatment type. Predicting remission was most successful for cognitive therapy (AUC = 0.82) and least successful for other medication and combined treatment options (AUCs = 0.51-0.66).

CONCLUSION: Ensemble machine learning has potential to predict second-step treatment. In this study, predictive performance varied by type of treatment, with greater accuracy in predicting remission in response to behavioral treatments than to pharmacotherapy interventions. Future directions include considering more informative predictor modalities to enhance prediction of second-step treatment response.

PMID:38533794 | DOI:10.1017/S0033291724000497