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Prediction in Cancer Genomics Using Topological Signatures and Machine Learning
Georgina Gonzalez, Arina Ushakova, Radmila Sazdanovic, Javier Arsuaga
Copy Number Aberrations, gains and losses of genomic regions, are a hallmark of cancer and can be experimentally detected using microarray comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). In previous works, we developed a topology based method to analyze aCGH data whose output are regions of the genome where copy number is altered in patients with a predetermined cancer phenotype. We call this method Topological Analysis of array CGH (TAaCGH). Here we combine TAaCGH with machine learning techniques to build classifiers using copy number aberrations. We chose logistic regression on two different binary phenotypes related to breast cancer to illustrate this approach. The first case consists of patients with over-expression of the ERBB2 gene. Over-expression of ERBB2 is commonly regulated by a copy number gain in chromosome arm 17q. TAaCGH found the region 17q11-q22 associated with the phenotype and using logistic regression we reduced this region to 17q12-q21.31 correctly classifying 78% of the ERBB2 positive individuals (sensitivity) in a validation data set. We also analyzed over-expression in Estrogen Receptor (ER), a second phenotype commonly observed in breast cancer patients and found that the region 5p14.3-12 together with six full arms were associated with the phenotype. Our method identified 4p, 6p and 16q as the strongest predictors correctly classifying 76% of ER positives in our validation data set. However, for this set there was a significant increase in the false positive rate (specificity). We suggest that topological and machine learning methods can be combined for prediction of phenotypes using genetic data.