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Enhancing gene expression signatures in cancer prediction models :
b understanding and managing classification complexity
h [electronic resource] /
by Vidya Kamath.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
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Dissertation (PHD)--University of South Florida, 2010.
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ABSTRACT: Cancer can develop through a series of genetic events in combination with external influential factors that alter the progression of the disease. Gene expression studies are designed to provide an enhanced understanding of the progression of cancer and to develop clinically relevant biomarkers of disease, prognosis and response to treatment. One of the main aims of microarray gene expression analyses is to develop signatures that are highly predictive of specific biological states, such as the molecular stage of cancer. This dissertation analyzes the classification complexity inherent in gene expression studies, proposing both techniques for measuring complexity and algorithms for reducing this complexity. Classifier algorithms that generate predictive signatures of cancer models must generalize to independent datasets for successful translation to clinical practice. The predictive performance of classifier models is shown to be dependent on the inherent complexity of the gene expression data. Three specific quantitative measures of classification complexity are proposed and one measure (Phi) is shown to correlate highly (R-Sq=0.82) with classifier accuracy in experimental data. Three quantization methods are proposed to enhance contrast in gene expression data and reduce classification complexity. The accuracy for cancer prognosis prediction is shown to improve using quantization in two datasets studied: from 67% to 90% in lung cancer and from 56% to 68% in colorectal cancer. A corresponding reduction in classification complexity is also observed. A random subspace based multivariable feature selection approach using cost-sensitive analysis is proposed to model the underlying heterogeneous cancer biology and address complexity due to multiple molecular pathways and unbalanced distribution of samples into classes. The technique is shown to be more accurate than the univariate t-test method. The classifier accuracy improves from 56% to 68% for colorectal cancer prognosis prediction. A published gene expression signature to predict radiosensitivity of tumor cells is augmented with clinical indicators to enhance modeling of the data and represent the underlying biology more closely. Statistical tests and experiments indicate that the improvement in the model fit is a result of modeling the underlying biology rather than statistical over-fitting of the data, thereby accommodating classification complexity through the use of additional variables.
Advisor: Steven A. Eschrich, Ph.D.
x Chemical & Biomedical Eng
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Enhancing Gene Expression Signatures in Cancer Prediction Models: Understanding and Managing Classification Complexity by Vidya P. Kamath A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering College of Engineering University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Steven A. Eschrich, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Dmitry Goldgof, Ph.D. John Heine, Ph.D. Rangachar Kasturi, Ph.D. Ji-Hyun Lee, Dr.PH. Timothy Yeatman, M.D. Date of Approval July 29, 2010 Keywords: quantization, survival analysis, random subspaces cost-sensitive analysis, biological covariates Copyright 2010, Vidya P. Kamath
DEDICATION I dedicate this work to everyone in my life that has e ncouraged me and helped me enjoy life's little challenges, and to a never-ending que st to understand the fascinating world we live in.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Stev en A. Eschrich for his skillful guidance, support and encouragement during my graduate wor k. His careful and critical review of my work is greatly appreciated. I am grateful for the financial support provided by Dr. Tim othy Yeatman, Dr. Javier Torres-Roca and Dr. Rangachar Kasturi during the co urse of my study. I thank my committee members, Dr. Dmitry Goldgof, Dr. John Heine, Dr. Rangachar Kasturi, Dr. Ji-Hyun Lee and Dr. Timothy Yeat man for the insightful discussions that helped shape this work. I am also grateful for the constant support and timely h elp provided by Karen Bray at the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Eng ineering, USF and Paula Price at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at H. Lee Mo ffitt Cancer Center. The gene expression analysis of colorectal adenocarcin oma was partially supported by the Department of Defense, National Functiona l Genomics Center project, under award DAMD17-02-2-0051. Views and opinions of, and endorsement s by, the author do not reflect those of the US Army or the Depa rtment of Defense. The gene expression analysis for prediction of radios ensitivity was supported in part by the State of Florida Department of Health, Ban khead-Coley Cancer Research Program, 09BB-22.
i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES .................................... ................................................... .................. iv LIST OF FIGURES ................................... ................................................... ................... v LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............................. ................................................... ...... viii ABSTRACT .......................................... ................................................... ...................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.............................. ................................................... ..... 1 1.1 Introduction ......................................... ................................................... ... 1 1.2 Contribution and Organization .......................... ......................................... 1 CHAPTER 2 BACKGROUND ............................... ................................................... ..... 3 2.1 Introduction ...................................... ................................................... ...... 3 2.2 Cancer ......................................... ................................................... ........... 3 2.3 Gene Expression .................................. ................................................... ... 5 2.3.1 Measuring Gene Expression Using Microarrays ......... ....................5 2.3.2 Building Gene Expression Models ....................... ........................... 7 2.3.3 Gene Expression Signatures ........................... ................................ 9 2.3.4 Problem Definition for Data Analysis ............... ............................ 12 2.4 Gene Expression Datasets ........................ ................................................ 13 2.4.1 Lung Adenocarcinoma (NSCLC)...................... ............................ 13 2.4.2 Colorectal Adenocarcinoma (MRC-CRC) ............ ........................ 14 2.4.3 Cell Line Data (NCI60) ........................... ..................................... 14 2.5 Data Modeling Techniques .............................. ........................................ 15 2.5.1 C4.5 Decision Trees ............................. ........................................ 15 2.5.2 Feed-Forward-Back-Propagation Neural Network ........ ................ 16 2.5.3 Support Vector Machines ............................. ................................ 17 2.5.4 Linear Regression Analysis ...................... .................................... 18 2.5.5 Student's T-Test ................................ ............................................ 18 2.5.6 Kaplan-Meier Survivor Estimates and the Log-Rank Test ............. 19 2.5.7 Cox Proportional Hazards Model .................. ................................ 20 2.6 Validation Techniques .............................. ............................................... 21 2.6.1 Performance Measures ........................... ...................................... 22 2.7 Summary ........................................ ................................................... ...... 23 CHAPTER 3 MEASURING THE CLASSIFICATION COMPLEXITY OF GENE EXPRESSION DATASETS ....................... .............................................. 25
ii 3.1 Introduction ...................................... ................................................... .... 25 3.2 Case Study: Survival Analysis of MRC-CRC and NSCLC ... .................... 26 3.3 Data Complexity .................................. ................................................... 28 3.3.1 Example: Intrinsic Heterogeneity in Datasets..... ........................... 29 3.3.2 Example: Heterogeneity from Sampling Process ..... ..................... 30 3.3.3 Other Examples of Heterogeneity ................ ................................. 31 3.4 Measures of Classification Complexity ............. ....................................... 33 3.4.1 Complexity Measure I: Student's T-Test: t ................................... 34 3.4.2 Complexity Measure II: Fisher's Discriminant Ratio : f ................. 34 3.4.3 Complexity Measure III: SAM 0 ................................................ 35 3.5 Internal Controls .............................. ................................................... ..... 36 3.6 Assessing the Complexity of MRC-CRC and NSCLC Datase ts ................ 37 3.7 Discussion ....................................... ................................................... ..... 40 3.8 A Method to Assess the Classification Complexity of a Microarray Gene Expression Dataset ............................ .............................................. 42 3.9 Summary ........................................ ................................................... ...... 44 CHAPTER 4 REDUCTION OF DATA COMPLEXITY FOR GENE EXPRESSION MODELS USING QUANTIZATION ...... ........................ 45 4.1 Introduction ...................................... ................................................... .... 45 4.2 Case Study: Survival Analysis of MRC-CRC Dataset .... .......................... 45 4.3 Reduction of Data Complexity ....................... .......................................... 46 4.3.1 Quantization to Reduce Data Complexity ............. ........................ 47 4.4 Quantization Techniques for Microarray Data ......... ................................. 48 4.4.1 K-Means Clustering ............................. ........................................ 49 4.4.2 Noise Removal ................................. ............................................ 51 4.4.3 Simple Rounding ................................ .......................................... 53 4.5 Experiments Using Quantization ...................... ........................................ 54 4.5.1 Experimental Setup to Test the Effectiveness of Qua ntization Algorithms .......................................... ......................................... 55 4.5.2 Effect of Quantization on Survival Analysis of MRC CRC/Survival and NSCLC/Survival Datasets ................. .............. 58 4.5.3 Multivariable Analysis ......................... ........................................ 65 4.6 Classification Complexity Using Quantization ....... .................................. 74 4.7 Summary ........................................ ................................................... ...... 75 CHAPTER 5 A COST-SENSITIVE MULTIVARIABLE FEATURE SEL ECTION FOR GENE EXPRESSION ANALYSIS USING RANDOM SUBSPACES ................... ................................................... ..................... 77 5.1 Introduction ...................................... ................................................... .... 77 5.2 Multivariable Models ............................. .................................................. 77 5.2.1 Molecular Pathways An Example ................ ............................... 78 5.2.2 Existing Multivariable Gene Expression Techniques .... ................ 80 5.3 Random Subspace Approach ............................ ........................................ 81 5.4 Multivariable Feature Selection Using Random Subspaces (MFS-RS) ..... 85 5.5 Cost-Sensitive Multivariable Feature Selection (MFS -RSc) ..................... 88
iii 5.6 Future Work....................................... ................................................... ... 93 5.7 Summary ........................................ ................................................... ...... 94 CHAPTER 6 INTEGRATING BIOLOGICAL COVARIATES IN GENE EXPRESSION MODELS ........................... ............................................. 96 6.1 Introduction ...................................... ................................................... .... 96 6.2 Biological Indicators for Cancer Models .......... ........................................ 97 6.3 Multivariable Linear Regression for Prediction of R adiosensitivity .......... 98 6.4 Inclusion of Biological Covariates in Model Developm ent ....................... 99 6.5 Analysis of Fit for the Linear Models ............ ......................................... 101 6.6 Verification of Model Fit ....................... ................................................ 102 6.7 Summary ........................................ ................................................... .... 107 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK ............. ................................ 108 7.1 Conclusions .................................... ................................................... .... 108 7.2 Future Work....................................... ................................................... 110 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................................... .......... 112 ABOUT THE AUTHOR .................................. .................................................. End Page
iv LIST OF TABLES Table 2-1: Confusion matrix ........................... ................................................... ............ 22 Table 2-2: Performance measures for two-class problems ... ........................................... 23 Table 3-1: Classification complexity and classifier accur acy for the MRC-CRC and NSCLC datasets ..................................... ................................................... ... 38 Table 3-2: Correlation of complexity measures with classi fier accuracies ...................... 40 Table 4-1: Quantitative description of quantization parameter s ...................................... 56 Table 6-1: Change in Adj-R 2 value ( D R 2 ) obtained by adding terms and complexity to the linear model .................................. ................................................... 105
v LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2-1: Description of cancer development. .......... ................................................... .. 5 Figure 2-2: Differences in expression levels of genes can be used to distinguish normal from cancerous cells ........................ ................................................. 6 Figure 2-3: Microarray experiment to detect expression of t arget genes on Affymetrix GeneChip .................................................. ............................... 7 Figure 2-4: A general approach for gene expression analysis to build models of cancer ............................................. ................................................... ........... 8 Figure 2-5: Structure of a decision tree ................. ................................................... ...... 16 Figure 2-6: Architecture of a feed-forward-back-propagation neur al network ................ 17 Figure 2-7: A maximum margin hyper-plane  .............. ............................................ 18 Figure 2-8: Formulation of the t-statistic for Student's t -test ........................................... 19 Figure 2-9: 10-fold cross validation setup .................. ................................................... 21 Figure 3-1: Classifier accuracies for MRC-CRC/Survival datas et .................................. 26 Figure 3-2: Classifier accuracies for NSCLC/Survival datase t........................................ 27 Figure 3-3: Example of a heterogeneous dataset ........... ................................................. 29 Figure 3-4: Examples of two possible classifications .... ................................................. 30 Figure 3-5 :Cross-section of colorectal tumor .......... ................................................... ... 31 Figure 3-6: Understanding the impact of sample mislabeling on classifier decision boundaries .......................................... ................................................... ..... 32 Figure 3-7: Classification Accuracy vs. Complexity measure f ...................................... 39 Figure 3-8: An example to demonstrate the applicability of the complexity measures .... 41 Figure 4-1: Example of a two-class dataset with multiple levels for a feature ................. 48
vi Figure 4-2: An example of quantizing a feature from three lev els to two levels to represent a two-class problem ........................ ............................................. 48 Figure 4-3: Example of K-means clustering .............. ................................................... .. 50 Figure 4-4: An example to demonstrate the noise removal algorithm for quantization of gene expression data ............................... ................................................ 52 Figure 4-5: Example of the effect of rounding to decimal on a gene expression dataset ............................................ ................................................... ......... 54 Figure 4-6: # Significant probesets in the MRC-CRC/Survival d atasets for the quantized datasets .................................... ................................................... 61 Figure 4-7: # Significant probesets in the NSCLC/Survival data set for the quantized datasets ........................................... ................................................... ......... 62 Figure 4-8: Number of probesets with concordant p values acr oss all three univariate tests on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset ................. ..................................... 63 Figure 4-9: Number of probesets with concordant p values acr oss all three univariate tests on the NSCLC/Survival dataset .................. ......................................... 64 Figure 4-10: Performance of C4.5 DT on the quantized MRC-CRC/ Survival datasets ... 67 Figure 4-11: Performance of NN on the quantized MRC-CRC/Survi val datasets ........... 68 Figure 4-12: Performance of NN on the quantized NSCLC/Survival datasets................. 69 Figure 4-13: Performance of SVM on the quantized NSCLC/Surviva l datasets. ............. 70 Figure 4-14: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for C4.5 DT using the best parameter setting for quantization on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset ........ 71 Figure 4-15: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for NN us ing the best parameter setting for quantization on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset ........................ 71 Figure 4-16: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for NN us ing the best parameter setting for quantization on the NSCLC /Survival dataset ............................. 72 Figure 4-17: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for SVM using the best parameter setting for quantization on the NSCLC /Survival dataset ............. 72 Figure 4-18: Comparison of the best weighted accuracies usin g the three methods of quantization for the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset ........... .............................. 73 Figure 4-19: Comparison of the best weighted average accurac ies using the three methods of quantization for the NSCLC/Survival dataset .. .......................... 74
vii Figure 4-20: Measure of complexity on the best quantized MRC -CRC/Survival dataset ............................................ ................................................... ......... 75 Figure 5-1: Example of a molecular pathway involving Ras.... ....................................... 79 Figure 5-2: Illustration of distributions of features or probesets ...................................... 82 Figure 5-3: A random projection of the data provides better separation of samples ........ 83 Figure 5-4: Random subspace approach for feature selection ... ...................................... 84 Figure 5-5: Weighted test accuracies of 10000 trees on MRC-CRC /Survival dataset...... 86 Figure 5-6: Comparison of prediction accuracies using MFS-R S and univariate feature selection methods for the MRC-CRC/Survival datas et..................... 88 Figure 5-7: Comparison of prediction accuracies of classif iers using the proposed MFS-RSc technique and univariate feature selection on the MR CCRC/Survival dataset .................................. ................................................ 90 Figure 5-8: Comparison of the specificity and sensitivity of prediction using MFSRS and univariate feature selection on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset ....... 91 Figure 5-9: Comparison of classifier prediction accuracies for MFS-RS, MFS-RSc and univariate feature selection on the MRC-CRC/Survival da taset ............ 92 Figure 5-10: Comparison of the best classifier sensitivity and specificity using MFSRS and MFS-RSc methods on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset .................. 93 Figure 6-1: Adj-R 2 values for linear equations fitting SF2 on 48 cell lines. ................. 102 Figure 6-2: Change in Adj-R 2 values obtained by including interaction terms in the linear model ........................................ ................................................... ... 106
viii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS MRC-CRC: Moffitt Colorectal Adenocarcinoma dataset NSCLC: Non-small cell lung cancer dataset NCI60 Cell line dataset obtained from the NCI60 panel of c ell lines SVM: Support vector machines NN: Neural networks C4.5 DT: C4.5 decision trees K-M: Kaplan-Meier survivor estimates L-R: Log-rank test CoxPH: Cox proportional hazards models n-fold CV: n-fold cross validation SAM: Significance analysis of microarrays MFS-RS: Multivariable feature selection using random su bspaces MFS-RSc: MFS-RS with cost-sensitive analysis D R 2 : Change in Adj-R 2 value between two groups of samples
ix ABSTRACT Cancer can develop through a series of genetic events in combination with external influential factors that alter the progression of the disease. Gene expression studies are designed to provide an enhanced understanding of th e progression of cancer and to develop clinically relevant biomarkers of diseas e, prognosis and response to treatment. One of the main aims of microarray gene e xpression analyses is to develop signatures that are highly predictive of specific biologic al states, such as the molecular stage of cancer. This dissertation analyzes the classi fication complexity inherent in gene expression studies, proposing both techniques for measurin g complexity and algorithms for reducing this complexity. Classifier algorithms that generate predictive signature s of cancer models must generalize to independent datasets for successful transla tion to clinical practice. The predictive performance of classifier models is shown to be dependent on the inherent complexity of the gene expression data. Three specific quantitative measures of classification complexity are proposed and one measure (f) is shown to correlate highly (R 2 =0.82) with classifier accuracy in experimental data. Three quantization methods are proposed to enhance contras t in gene expression data and reduce classification complexity. The accuracy f or cancer prognosis prediction is shown to improve using quantization in two datasets stud ied: from 67% to 90% in lung
x cancer and from 56% to 68% in colorectal cancer. A corre sponding reduction in classification complexity is also observed. A random subspace based multivariable feature selection approach using costsensitive analysis is proposed to model the underlying heter ogeneous cancer biology and address complexity due to multiple molecular pathways and unbalanced distribution of samples into classes. The technique is shown to be more accurate than the univariate ttest method. The classifier accuracy improves from 56% t o 68% for colorectal cancer prognosis prediction. A published gene expression signature to predict radiosen sitivity of tumor cells is augmented with clinical indicators to enhance modeling of the data and represent the underlying biology more closely. Statistical tests and expe riments indicate that the improvement in the model fit is a result of modeling the underlying biology rather than statistical over-fitting of the data, thereby accommoda ting classification complexity through the use of additional variables.
1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Unite d States . Studies of the molecular basis of cancer [2-5] have shown that progre ssion of cancer is influenced by a series of genetic events in combination with external factors such as age, dietary conditions or smoking history [6-7]. Gene expression studi es probe genetic activity to develop clinically-relevant biomarkers of disease, progno sis and response to treatment . Microarray gene expression data (see Section 2.3) ha s been used for discovery of genes involved in one or more specific biological function s of tumor cells [2-4, 12-28]. One of the main aims of microarray gene expression ana lyses is to extract signatures that are highly predictive of specific biological states, such as the molecular stage of cancer [5, 29]. This has opened up the possibility of translationa l science that moves basic biological findings from laboratory discoveries to clin ical tests . Molecular signatures may offer the opportunity to develop a personalized medicine approach to disease management, in which therapy is tailored to the individual . 1.2 Contribution and Organization Microarray gene expression data has been used to generate models to understand the development and progression of cancer. However, mo dels predictive in the dataset in which they were developed may not generalize to independent samples accurately .
2 This issue is examined and used to understand some of the fun damental issues in building gene expression models and to develop a framework to extra ct more accurate and generalized signatures. Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the problem domain (ge ne expression studies in cancer), along with the datasets and the data analysis tools used for various modeling techniques described in the subsequent chapters. Chapter 3 examines the sources of data complexity and deve lops three specific measures of complexity. These measures are used to quantit atively compare the complexity of different gene expression datasets to est ablish a relationship between the proposed complexity measures and classification accuracy. Chapter 4 proposes simplification of high-resolution mic roarray data by the use of quantization techniques. Classifier experiments are perform ed to provide a quantitative assessment of the quantized datasets in developing predict ive models of survival. Chapter 5 discusses a cost-sensitive random subspace bas ed approach that is proposed for extracting subsets of genes that are, in co mbination, associated with the outcome. Data complexity due to multiple gene pathways is used as a motivation for the multivariable feature selection approach for improving classi fication accuracy. Chapter 6 explores the effect of inclusion of specific bi ological indicators into gene expression models. The fit of the enhanced model to th e underlying data is explored and verified. Finally, conclusions from the analysis of the propose d methods are summarized in Chapter 7 and recommendations for future work are provided.
3 CHAPTER 2 BACKGROUND 2.1 Introduction Classifier models and statistical tools are used on mic roarray gene expression datasets to extract patterns of expression differences between samples [32-34]. These patterns, called signatures in this body of work, are use d to develop clinically-relevant biomarkers of disease, prognosis and response to treatmen t [5, 19, 29, 35-38]. This chapter presents basic background information regarding the data and techniques used in the following chapters. An overview of cancer is provided in Section 2.2 followed by a description of gene expression, the basic setup of microarray technolog y and gene expression analysis in Section 2.3. Section 2.4 describes the specific datasets us ed for analysis and the basic data analysis models used in the following chapters are pre sented in Section 2.5 Model validation techniques and performance measures are presented in Section 2.6. 2.2 Cancer Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Unit ed States . More people succumb to lung cancer per year than any other type of c ancer. Almost 80% of the 196,454 people diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006 died from the di sease. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second l eading cause of death due to cancer. Close to 37% of the 139,127 people diagnosed with color ectal cancer in 2006 died due to the disease. In women, breast cancer is on e of the leading causes of cancer
4 related deaths, second only to skin cancer. 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and 40,820 died from the disease. Development of biomarkers for early detection of these cancers and treatment planning in adv anced stages of the disease can greatly aid in reducing the fatality due to the disease [13, 14, 35]. Genetic mutations in normal cells, and environmental st imuli in combination with external factors such as age, smoking history or di et, can cause a normal cell to multiply uncontrollably, leading to cancer (Figure 2-1a) [7,39]. It is hypothesized that the specific sequence of molecular events that initiated the deviation from normalcy can be an indicator for the progression of the disease . A molecular pathway is defined as a series of actions between molecules at the cellular level that leads to a certain cell function . The progression of the tumor from normal to invasive depends on the molecular pathways that are active in the cells as i ndicated in Figure 2-1b. Physical and molecular characteristics of a tumor sam ple can aid the physician in planning treatment for a specific patient. General inform ation such as patient age and gender, and more specific clinical information including bi ological indicators for molecular pathways such as the RAS status [7, 8, 40] and p53 s tatus  may also be used for treatment planning. Models of disease progression us e retrospective data such as patient survival information in addition to the physical a nd molecular data.
5 (a) (b) Figure 2-1: Description of cancer development. (a) Behavior of cells at different stages of cancer  (b) Pathways for progression from normal cell to invasive 2.3 Gene Expression 2.3.1 Measuring Gene Expression Using Microarrays The human body is estimated to have approximately 30,000 genes [8, 42, 43]. Although each cell of the body contains an exact co py of these genes for the individual, only certain genes are active in any given cell. Th e specific genes that are active and the level of their activity, or the expression level, i n the cell govern how the cell functions in its environment. Measuring the level of activity of genes in a cell can provide information on the function it performs, and the influence it e xerts on its environment [7, 8]. Figure 2-2 provides an example of differences in expressio n levels of certain genes in normal and cancerous cells. Identification of genes that a re expressed differently under different nrnnnnrn n nrnnnrnr nr nr rrnrrrnr !"nrrn nr
6 biological conditions, such as normal or tumor, or diff erent stages of tumor can aid in understanding the disease process and progression. Figure 2-2: Differences in expression levels of genes can be used to distinguish normal from cancerous cells The activity of thousands of genes in a target tissue ma y be measured simultaneously using mRNA microarray chips [44, 45]. A micro array chip consists of specific sequences of nucleic acids, called probesets, th at are designed to identify and hybridize  with specific target sequences representing gene s of interest. A probeset is typically designed to probe only a small section of t he target gene, and a single gene may be probed by multiple probesets. Detailed information rega rding the design and functioning of different types of microarrays is provi ded in [44, 46]. For a microarray experiment, RNA from the sample is extracted from the tissue and fluorescence-tagged. This tagged RNA is then washed over the microarray chip under specific experimental conditions. If the sample RNA contains sequences of int erest, these sequences will hybridize with the corresponding probe sequences, resulti ng in fluorescence in specific areas of the chip. Detection of fluorescence is used as an indication of expression of the #$ #% # #$ #% # n nn
7 target gene while lack of fluorescence indicates an absenc e of expression. The level of fluorescence for each probe is detected and quantified by ac quiring a high-resolution digital image of the microarray chip (Figure 2-3). The ima ge data is converted to a numerical quantity that is used as the expression level f or the probeset of the specific gene. (a) (b) (c) Figure 2-3: Microarray experiment to detect expression of tar get genes on Affymetrix GeneChip (a) RNA probes attached to the microarray chip designed to identify specific target sequences (b) Hybridization of sample RNA onto the microarray chip (c) Detected fluorescence indicates exp ression level of the target gene (Images courtesy of Affymetrix ) 2.3.2 Building Gene Expression Models The main steps involved in building gene expression models a re shown in Figure 2-4. The model building process begins with the framing of a s pecific biological question followed by an experimental design that selects sampl es such that at least a few examples are included for each aspect of the disease intended for study. For example, in an experiment designed to study the molecular differences be tween different stages of colorectal cancer, at least a few samples must be i ncluded for each of the four stages of disease.
8 Figure 2-4: A general approach for gene expression analysis to b uild models of cancer Microarray experiments include image analysis and norma lization of the data to yield the gene expression dataset for analysis [9, 10, 47]. Si nce microarray data typically consists of a few thousand probesets or features, the f irst step of the analysis is to select a small set of features that are strongly correlated to the outcome. These features are used to train a classifier model which is then tested on a set of independent test samples. Performance measures such as accuracy, specificity and s ensitivity (see Section 2.6) may be used to determine if the classifier model of gene expres sion is predictive. r r r rr rr nr rrr rr nr
9 2.3.3 Gene Expression Signatures Microarray gene expression analysis involves studying patt erns of expression for genes e.g. across tissues of various types , diseased vs. normal tissue , or tissue under varying environmental conditions, such as tumor cells t reated with radiation therapy . Other examples of microarray analysis in clude analyzing expression across different stages of development of cancer  or for different types of patient outcome . Feature selection, or elimination of noisy probesets, is popularly used as a first step in gene expression analysis . Feature selection may be achieved in an unsupervised or supervised manner. Some simple methods for un supervised analysis include computation of a few basic statistics from the da taset, such as variance , ranking of features , linear dependency  and others [50, 51] to provide information on the existence (or lack thereof) of some structure or order within the data. Many methods have been proposed for supervised feature selecti on, including information gain-based methods [18, 52-55]. Supervised methods of feature selection are useful when a specific signature is being investigated, for example, a signature to describe the drug effect for cancer patients. Golub et al  analyzed two types of acute leukemia, ( ALL: acute lymphoblastic leukemia and AML: acute myeloid leukemia), to develop a genera l strategy for discovering and predicting types of cancer. Neighborhood analysis was used to identify a set of informative genes that could predict the class of a n unknown sample of leukemia. Each informative gene was used to cast a weighted vote o n the class of the sample, and
10 the summation of the votes predicted the class of the s ample. Self-organizing maps (SOM) were used to cluster tumors by gene expression to disc over new tumor types. van t Veer et al  utilized a hierarchical clustering a lgorithm to identify a gene expression signature that could predict the prognosis of b reast cancer. Two subgroups were created using the clustering technique, with genes that were highly correlated with the prognosis of cancer. The number of genes in each clus ter was then optimized by sequentially adding subsets of 5 genes and evaluating the power of prediction in a leaveone-out cross-validation scheme. Expression profiles o f tumors with correlation coefficients above the optimized sensitivity threshold wer e classified as good prognosis, and the rest as poor prognosis. Alon et al  distinguished between normal and tumor samples of colon cancer using a deterministic annealing algorithm. Genes were clustere d into separate groups sequentially to build a binary gene tree, and tissues we re clustered to create a tissue tree. Genes that showed strong correlation were found closer to each other on the gene tree, and tissues with strong similarities were found c lose together on the tissue tree. A two-way ordering of genes and tissues was used to identify families of genes and tissue based on the gene expressions in the dataset. Glinsky et al  identified an 11-gene signature that was shown to be a powerful predictor of a short interval to distant metastasis a nd poor survival after therapy in breast and lung cancer patients, when diagnosed with an earlystage disease. The method clustered genes exhibiting concordant changes of transcript ab undance. The degree of resemblance of the transcript abundance rank order within a gene cluster between a test sample and a reference standard was measured by the Pear son correlation coefficient.
11 Eschrich at al  showed that molecular staging of can cer, using the gene expression profile of the tumor at diagnosis, can predi ct the long-term survival outcome more accurately than clinical staging of the tumor. A feed-forward-back-propagation neural network used 43 genes to predict the molecular stage of a tumor sample. Fan et al,  address the issue of disagreement of gene expression models for the same tumor type, in terms of the genes used for the models. The models described in the article were developed to analyze characteristics of breast cancer samples. A 70-gene model was used to predict good-versus-poor prognosis of patien ts and a recurrence model predicted a high or low recurrence score for the s amples. A wound response model predicted samples with poor or good response. An intrinsic sub -type model classified the samples as luminal A, luminal B, basal-like, HER 2-positive, estrogen-receptornegative (HER2+ and ER-) and normal breast-like. The fifth model was a two-gene ratio model developed to predict outcome for ER+ samples receiving tamoxifen. Clearly, each of these 5 models addressed a different clinical ch aracteristic than the others, or more explicitly, as the authors allude to, these models address clinically different biological phenotypes. Each of these models studied by Fan et al  selected a few genes to create a model for prediction. Although these models were claimed to perform well on breast cancer samples, a comparison of the five lists of sel ected genes showed that very few genes were actually common. Ho and Basu  explored several popular methods of defining c lassification complexity, including overlap in individual features, separabi lity of classes, and the topology of the problem space. They demonstrated through a large set of problems (both
12 real and artificial) that many of the measures identif y complex (or even random) problems from simpler problems. The literature review presented here demonstrates that s everal models have been developed to address various biological questions and generate predictive signatures using microarray gene expression data. 2.3.4 Problem Definition for Data Analysis The choice of feature selection and classifier metho ds for gene expression data analysis is largely dependent on the problem definition. For many problems, the samples are split into discrete groups or classes, with samples in each class having some common characteristic/s and differing from samples in the other classes. For example, a study based on the stages of colorectal adenocarcinoma will s plit the sample set into four classes with one class for each stage of the tumor. O ther problems require data analysis techniques that model a continuous variable as the outcome. For example radiation sensitivity of a patient may be modeled as a continuous o utcome. Outcomes such as patient survival time can be modeled bot h as a discrete or continuous variable. The data can be split into two distin ct groups of patients with specific survival characteristics, for example, patients who have survived longer than 60 months may be categorized as Good prognosis patients an d those who survived a lesser time in the Bad prognosis group. When modeled as a continuous variable, the actual patient survival times (number of months survived after surgery) are used as the outcome. This data includes a censoring variable when complete information regarding patient survi val is unavailable.
13 Other two-class outcomes are also defined for some of the datasets described in this chapter. These outcomes include gender (Male, Female), clinical stage (I, III), and tissue type (Colon, Rectum). 2.4 Gene Expression Datasets The microarray gene expression datasets used for describi ng the techniques proposed in the subsequent chapters are presented in the fo llowing sections. All datasets except the MRC-CRC dataset (Section 2.4.2) are publicly av ailable. 2.4.1 Lung Adenocarcinoma (NSCLC) This dataset was arrayed on the Affymetrix HuGeneFL Ge neChips (n = 62) with 7,129 features and stored in the MAS5.0 data format  with a 6-digit precision and range of 10.0-6000.0. A study previously published on this dataset iden tified a signature between patients with higher and lower risk of death fro m the cancer . For the two-class survival analysis models developed in C hapters 3-4, the risk of death was transformed using a cut-off for survival time of 30 months (median survival time). Patients who died within 30 months were consider ed poor prognosis (n = 20), else they had a good prognosis (n = 42). Two additional classifica tion problems using this data are: predicting cancer stages I (n = 49) and III (n = 13); and predicting gender (Male: n=25, Female: n=37) of the patients. The overall survival ti me for the patients was a continuous variable with information on the vital status of the patient at the end of the study.
14 2.4.2 Colorectal Adenocarcinoma (MRC-CRC) Colorectal cancer patient samples (MRC-CRC), collec ted at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, were arrayed on the Affymetrix U133Plus2.0 GeneChip , consisting of 54,675 features. The data (n = 121) was proces sed using RMA normalization  and represented as a continuous value from 0.0 to 15.0 with a 6 digit precision. An outcome study was previously published using a subset of this data . For the models developed in Chapters 3-5, the survival times were stratified into high risk (less than 36 months of survival, n = 37) and low ri sk (greater than 36 months of survival, n = 84). Additional classification problems i nclude determining the gender of the patients (Male: n=59, Female: n=62), as well as t he differentiation between colon (n = 85) and rectal (n = 36) cancer. The overall survival ti me for the patients was available as a continuous variable along with informatio n on the vital status of the patient at the end of the study. 2.4.3 Cell Line Data (NCI60) Gene expression profiles were obtained from a previously published study  using Affymetrix HU6800 chips consisting of 7,129 features . The data was normalized using the Affymetrix MAS 4.0 algorithm in average difference units , with the gene expression represented as a continuous value from 0.0-122000.0. Radiation sensitivity data, defined by survival fraction after 2 Gy ( SF2), were obtained from literature and used as a continuous-valued outcome for develo ping a radiation sensitivity model (Chapter 6).
15 2.5 Data Modeling Techniques Several data modeling techniques including data mining classifie rs and statistical modeling techniques are described in the following sections. Th ese techniques may be used at the feature selection stage and/or as the classif ier for building gene expression signatures. 2.5.1 C4.5 Decision Trees Decision trees are learning algorithms that employ a d ivide and conquer strategy  to create nodes at various levels of the tr ee. C4.5  is a variant of the basic decision tree that uses information-gain as a measur e of purity at each node. Information gain can be described as the effective decrea se in entropy resulting from making a choice as to which feature to use and at what le vel. The entropy is computed as: entropy( p i ) = p i log( p i ) where p i = (# samples at node i )/(total samples at parent node) The entropy of subsets created by splitting the samples on a feature value is compared to the entropy of the system prior to the split. The feature that yields the maximum information gain by splitting the dataset is cho sen as the best split attribute. Thus a tree can be built up of decisions that allow naviga tion from the root of the tree to a leaf node by continually examining these split attributes (Figure 2-5). The USF implementation of C4.5 decision trees (C4.5 DT) is used fo r the models described here.
16 2.5.2 Feed-Forward-Back-Propagation Neural Network A feed-forward-back-propagation neural network (NN) [62, 63] t ypically consists of an input layer followed by one or more layers of hidden u nits or computational nodes (Figure 2-6), ending in a layer of output nodes. The learni ng algorithm employs a forward and a backward pass of signals through the different laye rs of the network. The forward pass involves propagation of an input vector through the laye rs of the network, producing a response at the output layer of the network. An er ror signal is computed by subtracting the actual response of the network from a desired or target response and propagated backward through the network to make the actual response of the network closer to the desired response. Quickprop, a fast implementation of the feed-forward-ba ck-propagation network, is used for the models described in the subsequent chapters The network is designed with 10 hidden units and 2 output nodes. The training of the classif ier is designed to stop either when the training set error rate dropped to 0, or 500 e pochs. Root Leaf Node Leaf Node Branches Set of possible answers Set of possible answers Figure 2-5: Structure of a decision tree
17 2.5.3 Support Vector Machines Support vector machines (SVM) use linear models to represent non-linear boundaries between classes [32, 64]. Input feature vectors ar e transformed into a higher dimensional space using a non-linear mapping. Hyper-planes are defined in this high dimensional space so that data from any two classes ca n be separated (Figure 2-7). The hyper-plane that achieves the highest separation of the classes, known as the maximum margin hyper-plane, generalizes the solution of the clas sifier and is completely defined by specifying the vectors closest to it, called the support v ectors. The support vector machine implementation in WEKA  is used for the models described in the following chapters. A linear kernel is used with standard normaliz ation. Output Layer Hidden Layer Input Layer Processing Units M a/g D x G s 0 s 0 Figure 2-6: Architecture of a feed-forward-back-propagation ne ural network
18 2.5.4 Linear Regression Analysis Linear regression analysis  is a statistical technique used to model the relationship between a scalar outcome variable y and one or more covariates x The model depends linearly on unknown parameters that are dete rmined via regression techniques. The linear model is represented as: ip p i i ix x x yb b b+ + + = ...2 2 1 1; for i =1, N where N is the total number of samples in the data, with y as the outcome variable that is linearly dependent on the covariates x via the model parameters Thus, the linear effect of each covariate x i on the outcome is governed by the regression parameter i 2.5.5 Student's T-Test The Student's t-test is a popular technique used to test the difference in means of two groups of data . The computation of the t-statistic as shown in Figure 2-8, indicates the ease of distinguishing between two groups in presence of variability. The null hypothesis states that there is no difference in the means of the two groups. A p value Support vectors Maximum margin hyper plane Figure 2-7: A maximum margin hyper-plane 
19 of less than the a-level (typically set at 0.05 or lower) indicates that the difference between the two groups is statistically significant ther eby rejecting the null hypothesis. 2.5.6 Kaplan-Meier Survivor Estimates and the Log-Rank Test The Kaplan-Meier product limit estimate (K-M) is used to compute the survival probabilities and the survivor curves for a cohort of pati ents [66, 67]. The product limit estimate computes the survival probability as: ; n : total number of cases, These estimates are used to draw survivor curves for ea ch group of patients in the dataset. A log-rank (L-R) test [66, 67] is used to compare these curves for differences in survival. This test statistic is approximately chi-square dis tributed with one degree of freedom under the null hypothesis that the two K-M curves are statistically equivalent. ) ( 1)1 ( ) ( ) (j t jj n j n t Sd'= + = if j th case is uncensored if j th case is censored = ;0 ;1 ) ( jd Figure 2-8: Formulation of the t-statistic for Student's t-t est n r n
20 where O i : observed score for the group i and E i : expected score for the group i The p value obtained at an a (e.g. 0.05) confidence level from the chi-square distribution tables is used to determine if the null hypoth esis is rejected. A rejection of the null hypothesis indicates that the two curves are statis tically different. 2.5.7 Cox Proportional Hazards Model The Cox proportional hazards model [66, 67] (CoxPH) is a s emi-parametric survival regression analysis technique used to model the effe ct of secondary variables or covariates on survival. The strength of the technique lies in its ability to model and test many inferences about survival without making any specific assumptions about the parametric form of the hazard or survival functions. For any two individuals with covariate vectors x 1 and x 2 the hazard ratio is specified by a constant of proport ionality: )) (' exp( ) exp( ) ( ) exp( ) ( ) ,( ) ,( ) (2 1 2 0 1 0 2 1x x x t x t x t x t x = = =b b l b l l l r where ) ,(ix tlis the hazard function for individual i with covariates xi at time t The hazard is interpreted as: r(x)=1: S(t,x) = So(t) : no difference in survival between groups r(x)<1: S(t,x) > So(t) : better survival than baseline r(x)>1: S(t,x) < So(t) : worse survival than baseline ) ( ) ( 2 i i i i E O Var E O statistic rank Log =
21 2.6 Validation Techniques Validation techniques  are used to test the pr edictive performance of classifier models. A simple validation method used in this wor k is a hold-out procedure known as n -Fold-Cross-Validation (n-fold CV) that involves di viding the dataset into a fixed number of partitions ( n ). All but one partition are used to train the clas sifier and the leftout partition is used for testing. The training-and -testing procedure is repeated enough number of times (called folds) so that each partiti on is used as a test set exactly once. The 10-fold cross-validation setup shown in Figure 2-9 is used for validating classifier models in the subsequent chapters. For two-class problems, the samples in each partit ion represents a proportional selection of samples from all the classes under con sideration to ensure that the classifier learns all the classes equally well, and is not ove r-trained on any one class. Figure 2-9: 10-fold cross validation setup r !rr Combine classification of the 10 folds All features; Training: 9/10 th of samples; Output of Fold 10 Classifier 10 Output of Fold 1 Classifier 1 All features; Training: 9/10 th of samples;
22 2.6.1 Performance Measures Performance measures  are used to determine th e expected prediction accuracy of a classifier model on independent test samples. The choice of the measures used depends on the basic construct of the problem definition (see Section 2.3.4). The predictive performance of a classifier for a t wo-class problem can be analyzed by means of a confusion matrix (Table 2-1) and the performance measures listed in (Table 2-2). Although the total accuracy of prediction is commonly used as a preliminary measure of performance, computation of a weighted accuracy is useful in datasets with unbalanced class distributions. Measu res of sensitivity and specificity  are popularly used to gauge performance when dealin g with clinical data. Sensitivity is defined as the true positive rate and specificity a s the true negative rate for the classifier. Since the weighted accuracy reports the average of these rates it may be used as a convenient measure to evaluate the performance of t he classifier. Table 2-1: Confusion matrix Classified As True condition Class A (positive) Class B (negative) Class A (positive) True Positive ( a ) False Negative ( b ) Class B (negative) False Positive ( c ) True Negative ( d )
23 Table 2-2: Performance measures for two-class problems Performance measure Formula used Total accuracy d c b a b a + + + + Weighted accuracy 2/ n r + + + d c d b a a Sensitivity d c d + Specificity b a a+ Continuous-valued predictions are obtained for sta tistical techniques that model continuous-valued problems. Such outcomes can be as sessed for predictive ability in two ways. In the first approach, the continuous-valued predictions are split into two classes based on some threshold. Statistical tests such as the Student's t-test or K-M curves and L-R test may be used to determine if these groups a re significantly different. For example, the survival estimates obtained from the C oxPH model may be split on the median value to obtain two groups. K-M survivor est imates and L-R test can be used to test the difference of survival between the two gro ups. The second method used in the following chapters t o determine model performance is a goodness-of-fit test for a specifi c statistical technique. This is measured by a model R2 value. The high values of R2 indicate good correlation of the modeled covariates with the outcome. 2.7 Summary A basic overview of the process for developing mol ecular signatures was provided, from a description of cancer to the data analysis and statistical tools used in the
24 subsequent chapters. Two different ways to state a problem definition for experimental design were described. These included splitting the data into discrete number of classes, or modeling the outcome as a continuous variable. T hree different microarray gene expression datasets were described and multiple out comes for study were outlined for two of these datasets. Several data analysis models were described that may be used for feature selection as well as classifier design. Fin ally, validation techniques for assessing the predictive performance of both types of problem definitions were discussed.
25 CHAPTER 3 MEASURING THE CLASSIFICATION COMPLEXITY OF GENE EXPRESSION DATASETS 3.1 Introduction Microarray gene expression signatures that are pre dictive in the training datasets in which they were developed can perform poorly whe n tested on samples from independent sources . Further, classifier model s that generate predictive signatures in certain datasets can fail to be as predictive on ot her datasets . Although methodological mistakes can lead to poor estimates of signature accuracy estimates , even correctly developed classifiers suffer from th is difficulty. This chapter shows that the inherent complexity of gene expression data can limit the ability of classification schemes to generate accurate signatures. A case study is presented in Section 3.2 to illust rate the behavior of classifiers on complex datasets. Data complexity is explored in de tail in Section 3.3 and three specific quantitative measures of complexity are proposed in Section 3.4. The need for internal controls in a dataset, and a method to establish th e control is outlined Section 3.5. The proposed measures of complexity are applied to data sets in Section 3.6 and discussed in Section 3.7. Finally, a methodology is outlined in Section 3.8 to assess the complexity of a dataset given a problem definition and a classifi er model.
26 3.2 Case Study: Survival Analysis of MRC-CRC and NSCLC The MRC-CRC dataset (n = 121) was analyzed as a tw o-class problem to generate a predictive signature for patient surviva l (MRC-CRC/Survival). The survival times were stratified into high risk (less than 36 months of survival, n = 37) and low risk (greater than 36 months of survival, n = 84). Featu res with smallest Student's t-test p values were selected to train the three classifiers (C4.5 DT, SVM and NN) and classification accuracy was estimated using 10-fold CV. Figure 3-1 shows that the best weighted accuracy of the classifiers was found to b e 56%, indicating survival prediction was only slightly better than chance. Since the mai n aim was to build accurate predictive signatures, a further refinement of the models was required. However, refining a classifier model significantly to obtain high predi ction accuracies even within a 10-fold CV can lead to over-training of the classifiers [58 68]. Such over-trained classifiers rarely perform with the expected prediction accurac y on independent datasets. Figure 3-1: Classifier accuracies for MRC-CRC/Survival datase t 55.5% 51.1% 45.5%0% 20% 40% 60% 80%SVMNNC4.5Weighted average accuracy Comparisons of classifier accuracies on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset Weighted accuracy 56 % 51 % 46 %
27 To explain poor classification accuracy, it was hy pothesized that the classifiers chosen were ineffective in modeling the underlying characteristics of survival in the data. The survival outcome is inherently a difficult prob lem to model due to the lack of complete follow-up information as well as confoundi ng factors such as age, existing medical conditions and other physiological paramete rs. To determine the ability of the three classifiers (C4.5 DT, SVM and NN) to model a survival outcome, the same techniques were used to predict survival for a diff erent dataset (NSCLC). A previously published K-M survival model was shown to be highly predictive for this dataset . In this work, the dataset (n=62) was transformed into a two-class problem using a cut-off for survival time of 30 months (median survival time). Patients who died within 30 months were considered poor prognosis (n = 20), otherwise they had a good prognosis (n = 42) (NSCLC/Survival). Figure 3-2: Classifier accuracies for NSCLC/Survival dataset Figure 3-2 shows that the classifiers were able to predict the survival outcome with an accuracy of 77%, suggesting that the classi fier models can be reasonably 74.2% 76.7% 73.1%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%SVMNNC4.5Weighted average accuracy Comparisons of classifier accuracies on the NSCLC/Survival dataset Weighted accuracy 74% 7 7 % 7 3 %
28 effective in modeling two-class survival data. Thus it was hypothesized that the poor accuracy in the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset must resul t from some intrinsic property of the dataset. 3.3 Data Complexity A key issue in gene expression studies is to deter mine if a predictive signature can be developed for a dataset given an appropriate cla ssification method. The case study illustrates two difficulties in choosing classifier models for gene expression analysis. The first difficulty is that a classifier method that i s shown to work well in one dataset may not yield satisfactory results in a different datas et. The second difficulty is that for a given classification problem one type of classifier may o utperform other types of classifiers, as shown in Figure 3-1 and Figure 3-2. This was also shown in the No Free Lunch Theorem . In some cases, this difference is explained b y the decision boundary created by the classifier to separate the defined classes. For exa mple, a decision tree creates only axisparallel decision boundaries while neural networks can create arbitrary boundaries [62, 63]. Another possible cause for these issues is tha t the data itself imposes a limit on the classification accuracy that can be obtained from a ny classifier . This may be due to several reasons including noisy data, omission of i nformative variables, incorrect assignment of the examples into specific classes or perhaps an incomplete understanding of the ground truth. Unfortunately, each of these p roblems is prevalent in gene expression studies, particularly when the tissue originates wi thin humans. This work proposes and develops quantitative measures of data complexity t o estimate an upper limit on classification accuracy for a dataset given a class ification method.
29 3.3.1 Example: Intrinsic Heterogeneity in Datasets Figure 3-3 illustrates the problem of classificati on complexity in a heterogeneous dataset with a simple example. The dataset consists of two variables: Color ( Black or White ) and Pattern ( Solid or Stripes ). Size ( Big and Small shapes) is used as the outcome. Since there is no direct correlation between Color and Size or Pattern and Size classifier models using these variables will be ina ccurate (see Figure 3-4). However, defining a second outcome, type of Shape ( Squares or Triangles ) can lead to a more trivial grouping of the samples, and accurate class ifiers can be created using Pattern as a variable (Figure 3-4). Here, the samples are perfec tly split into the two classes: all striped shapes are Triangles and all solid shapes are Squares Thus, in a heterogeneous dataset, the problem definition can have an impact on the co mplexity of a classifier model. The definitions that are easy to model tend to yield si mple classifiers, while other questions can lead to complex classifier boundaries. Figure 3-3: Example of a heterogeneous dataset Variables : Color Pattern Classes : Size Shape
30 3.3.2 Example: Heterogeneity from Sampling Process Inherent biological characteristics of tissue samp les can introduce heterogeneity within gene expression signatures of cancer. An exa mple may be observed in solid tumors such as colorectal cancer. Figure 3-5a shows that the colon tissue is composed of several different layers of epithelial cells surrou nded by connective and muscle tissue, and the specific composition of a tissue sample cha nges based on the location of the tumor in the colon or rectum. Inconsistent extracti on of tissue across samples can lead to microarray datasets with a mixture of cell types wi th varying proportions  and introduces signatures that are inherently different The task of classifying samples for a specific biological question has to then overcome t he distinction between the basic tissue types to find more subtle differences. In the worst case, the sample may consist of nonmalignant cell types. This sample may be erroneousl y labeled as tumor, along with the clinical factors that are attributed to the patient such as age, stage of tumor, surgery and overall survival time. A classifier model using thi s as a training sample could generate an inaccurate model. (a) ( b ) Figure 3-4: Examples of two possible classifications. (a) Divi ding samples by Size (b) Dividing samples by type of Shape Big Small Squares Triangles
31 (a) (b) Figure 3-5 :Cross-section of colorectal tumor. (a) At different stages of development (Image courtesy of http://www.cancersociety.com/ca ncer_information/colon.html) (b) Surrounded by adenoma and normal tissue 3.3.3 Other Examples of Heterogeneity Other less obvious differences in samples such as a ge of the patient, gender, smoking history or ethnic background may introduce further heterogeneity in the data that may not be modeled by the classifiers and may confound the analysis. Errors in documenting these factors can exacerbate the proble m. The microarray experiment itself could introduce some heterogeneity in the final dat a due to differences in processing Adenocarcinoma Adenoma nr
32 conditions or book-keeping errors . Image analy sis and normalization of the data in the final processing steps can add to the noise or introduce undesirable signals into the dataset . Figure 3-6 depicts the impact of sample mislabelin g on a classifier decision boundary. A test sample is assigned to a specific c lass depending on the side of the decision boundary it lies on. Changing the class la bel of a single training sample from Figure 3-6a to Figure 3-6b (circled in red in Figur e 3-6b), alters the decision boundary such that four of the five test samples are labeled as Class 1 in Figure 3-6b when only two of the test samples were labeled as Class 1 in Figu re 3-6a. (a) (b) Figure 3-6: Understanding the impact of sample mislabeling on classifier decision boundaries. Training samples for the two classes are repres ented as filled (Class 1) or hollow (Class 2) samples. Test samples are depicted as orange circles in the graphs If the actual class labels for the test samples we re known in advance, it is relatively easy to determine which of these two dec ision boundaries is more accurate. However, since in a practical situation there is no way of knowing the actual class of test samples in advance, there is little guiding informa tion on whether a chosen classifier nnnrnnn nr &n' &n( nnnrnnn nr &n' &n( r
33 model is performing poorly on the data because it i s an ineffective choice for the data, or if the data itself is imposing an upper limit on th e accuracy that can be obtained. Further, if the source of the mislabeling is unknown, there may be little chance of rectifying the error. 3.4 Measures of Classification Complexity As discussed in the preceding sections, intrinsic complexity of gene expression datasets can affect classifier performance. Three s pecific measures are formulated here to quantitatively evaluate the complexity of these dat asets and provide insight into the expected classifier performance for a given problem definition. A biological basis for measuring the complexity of a classification problem is that large numbers of gene expression changes occur in s ignificantly different tissue types. For instance, the differences in gene expression be tween epithelial tissue of the colon and surrounding connective tissue are dramatically high ; correspondingly, tissue type-based signatures have been demonstrated to be accurate an d robust (e.g. ). This rationale suggests consideration of the number of genes diffe rentially expressed across two classes as a measure. Separately, large changes in individu al gene expressions (e. g. 5 fold differences) between classes can be indicative of f unctional or morphological differences within cells; therefore the maximum univariate gene discrimination can also be considered. The following sections describe the pro posed measures of classification complexity.
34 3.4.1 Complexity Measure I: Student's T-Test: t tt t The first measure of complexity (t) is defined as the proportion of genes identified as significant when considered using a S tudent's t-test. P values ( pi) are calculated for the difference in gene expression be tween two groups. The t-statistic represents the ease of distinguish ing between two groups in the presence of inherent variability in the data or noi se in measurement. A p value of less than the a-level (typically set at 0.05 or lower) indicates t hat the difference between the two groups is statistically significant thereby rej ecting the null hypothesis. The assumption for this measure is that if a dataset ha s a large number of features that are significant, an accurate classifier model may be de signed. The larger the number of significant features, the less complex the classifi cation problem. Thus t can be formally defined as shown below, where s represents the number of features tested. t ; i = 1, ..., s 3.4.2 Complexity Measure II: Fisher's Discriminant Ratio: f ff f A second complexity measure (f) is based on Fisher's discriminant ratio that was used in . The ratio measures the separation of two classes, adjusted by the spread of the samples in each class. The method is primarily used to find an axis in the feature space along which the separation of the two classes is a maximum [73, 74]. The samples are then projected onto this axis for classificatio n. The Fisher's discriminant ratio is computed using each feature univariately to determine the separabilty of each feature. The rati o is defined as given below, where 1i;
35 2i; s1i and s2i, are the means and variances of the two classes fo r feature i and s is the number of features tested. The proposed summary com plexity measure, f, is the maximum ratio obtained from the dataset. !" #$%'%(')*$% '+*'% ',' ; i = 1 ,..., s !( Higher ratios indicate better separation between t he classes for the selected feature. Since the first step in gene expression an alysis selects features with good discrimination between classes, considering the max imum separation of a single gene provides an upper bound on classification. 3.4.3 Complexity Measure III: SAM 0 A third measure of complexity is 0, an estimate of the number of unchanged (true null) features in a series of statistical tests. Th is measure is used by the SAM (Significance Analysis for Microarrays) [15, 75] al gorithm. The samples are repeatedly shuffled around by permuting their class labels (or response states) and the statistic is computed for each permutation. SAM identifies genes as significant when they change stably and significantly with a minimum pre-specifi ed change in expression level across the repeated measurements. The overall error rate is summarized by a measure 0 that estimates the probability of erroneously rejecting the null hypothesis. 0 is specified for a rejection region, (e.g. a
36 = 0.05 or lower) and is computed as the proportion of features with p values that fall in this rejection region, normalized by the range of t he region. % /0 1&0 ( ; i = 1, ..., s Thus 0 indicates the proportion of features whose values do not change between the classes. As stated earlier, a dataset with clas ses that have strong differences is expected to have a small proportion of features tha t are not associated with the outcome. Thus an increase in 0 values from one outcome to another on a specific d ataset can be used as an indication of increasing complexity of c lassification. 3.5 Internal Controls While a universal measure of classification comple xity is desirable, individual datasets may have different baseline complexities. One approach to alleviate this concern is through the use of internal controls within each dataset. Identifying different outcomes (e.g. gender, staging, and patient survival) that a re believed to be more or less complex within the same set of samples provides an internal control on the measurement of complexity. This approach also allows for a normali zation factor in the form of a similar outcome across datasets. Identification of gender from gene expression data is an example of a lowcomplexity classification problem, in particular when the dataset includes gender-related features. Gender of an individual is indicated in t he chromosomal composition of the cells. Males have one X and one Y chromosome, while females have two X
37 chromosomes. Since the chromosomes define the genet ic composition of the cells, male and female samples are likely to have strong differ ences in the expression of gender related genes. Further, secondary effects of gender such as differences in hormonal levels, can also be measured at the genetic level. If the features measured in the dataset include genes associated with gender, then distingu ishing between males and females becomes a straightforward classification problem. 3.6 Assessing the Complexity of MRC-CRC and NSCLC Datasets The MRC-CRC and NSCLC datasets were used to measur e complexity and these measures were compared with prediction accuracies o f survival models. Gender was used as the internal control for each dataset: (MRC-CRC/ Gender: Male: n=59, Female: n=62 and NSCLC/Gender: Male: n=25, Female: n=37). An add itional outcome was specified for each dataset to provide a further data point fo r assessing the complexity measures. Tissue type was defined for MRC-CRC dataset (MRC-CR C/Site: Colon: n=85, Rectal: n=36). Stage was defined for the NSCLC dataset. (N SCLC/Stage: I: n==49, III: n=13). The three measures of classification complexity we re computed for each dataset and compared against the best weighted accuracy cla ssifier for each problem, regardless of classifier type. These results were published in . Table 3-1 details the complexity measures and accuracies for each problem. As expect ed, for both MRC-CRC and NSCLC the gender classification achieved the highest accu racy (98% and 95% respectively) compared to the other problems specified for each d ataset. However, both t and 0 measures indicate relatively few features that are significant in these problems. In retrospect this result is not surprising, since the genes associated with gender are often
38 very distinct (e.g. absent or present) but may not be numerous. Although the number of significant genes may be a sufficient measure of co mplexity, it is not a complete measure. The complexity measure f estimates the best univariate separation in the dat a, and hence is a more reasonable measure of expected classifica tion accuracy. Table 3-1: Classification complexity and classifier accuracy for the MRC-CRC and NSCLC datasets Dataset t tt t f ff f p pp p0 Best weighted classifier accuracy (%) MRC-CRC/Gender MRC-CRC/Site MRC-CRC/Survival 7.8 12.3 11.8 9.98 0.64 0.33 0.93 0.76 0.75 98.4 77.7 55.5 NSCLC/Gender NSCLC/Stage NSCLC/Survival 4.9 13.2 8.8 2.47 1.10 0.75 0.98 0.88 0.96 95.3 87.4 76.8 Table 3-1 also reports the complexity for the two additional problems (MRCCRC/Site and MRC-CRC/Survival; NSCLC/Stage and NSCL C/Survival) for the two datasets, along with the corresponding maximum clas sifier accuracy. Again two measures of significant genes (t and 0) do not reflect the differences in accuracy that a re observed. For instance, in the MRC-CRC/Site and MRC-CRC/Survi val datasets, the differences are small in t and 0 however there is almost a 20% difference in best a ccuracies between the two problems. For example, in the MRC-CRC dataset, t is 12.3% for Site and 11.8% for Survival and 0 is 0.757 for Site and 0.750 for Survival; however t he classifier accuracies are very different (78% for Site and 56% for Surviv al). Note that despite the differences for these two outcomes, the trend in accuracy vs. c omplexity is maintained: accuracy drops as fewer features are found to be significant
39 The complexity measure f captures the classification complexity better than the remaining two measures in this data. However, it ca n be seen from the results for gender and survival outcomes that the measure of complexit y is not directly comparable across datasets. Thus, the internal control for each datas et is required to provide information on the maximum attainable classifier accuracy. Figure 3-7: Classification Accuracy vs. Complexity measure f ff f Of the three measures tested, f correlated highly with maximum classification accuracy (R2 for correlation is 0.82 for the MRC-CRC dataset, T able 3-2). Figure 3-7 provides a detailed view of the classifier accuracy (bar) and complexity measure (point) for each of these datasets. The equation for correl ation can be used to estimate an upper bound on the expected classifier accuracy using the specified classifier models for any new outcome on the dataset. 0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 0 20 40 60 80 100 MRCCRC/ Gender MRCCRC/ Site MRCCRC/ Survival NSCLC/ Gender NSCLC/ Stage NSCLC/SurvivalFisher's discriminant ratio Colorectal cancer Lung cancer Fisher's ratio Best weighted classifier accuracy and Fisher's disc riminant ratio fBest weighted classifier accuracy (%) Comparison of complexity measure f ff f with expected classification accuracy Complexity measure, f f f f f Best weighted accuracy
40 Table 3-2: Correlation of complexity measures with classifier accuracies Dataset Correlation coefficient for comparison of complexity measures with classifier accuracy (R 2 ) t tt t f ff f p pp p 0 MRC-CRC 0.58 0.82 0.69 NSCLC 0.53 0.99 0.16 3.7 Discussion Genes with large univariate differences can aid in achieving high classifier accuracies. Examples of such differences are gender related genes that are present or absent in each class. If a large number of these ge nes are available, the classifier accuracy can be expected to be very high. However, with such large distinctions, even a small set of genes is sufficient to create an accurate classi fier. In such a case, the number of distinct genes may not provide much information on the expec ted performance. However information on the largest separation between the c lasses can provide insight into the quality of a classifier decision boundary. In datas ets where such large distinctions are not available, the best univariate separation between t he classes can provide an indication of the classifier performance. Figure 3-8 depicts complex datasets with multiple probesets. In case 1 with a single probeset, all the complexity measures provid e the same information. When more genes are added to the model, the measures provide slightly different types of information. In case 2, where Gene 1 has a reasonab le separation between the samples and Gene 2 has very poor separation, values of t and 0 indicate that a decision boundary can be found (here, t = 50%).
41 Figure 3-8: An example to demonstrate the applicability of the complexit y measures. # significant features is a useful measure, but f ff f provides a measure of the maximum univariate separability (a) ( b ) ( c )
42 The value of f is unaffected by the addition of the variable Gene 2 in the model, and will provide the same measure of separation as case 1. As indicated by the complexity measures, the separation provided by Gen e 1 allows for a decision boundary between the samples. Similarly, Gene 1 and Gene 2 i n case 3 do not have a good separation but Gene 3 does. Here, t and 0 will be lower (t = 33.3%), but f still measures the separation provided by Gene 3, indicating that a predictive classifier may be created. This supports the conclusion that complexity measur e f is a good indicator of the complexity of a dataset, and provides an estimate o f expected classifier performance. 3.8 A Method to Assess the Classification Complexity of a Microar ray Gene Expression Dataset The case study and experimental results indicate t hat when using the t-test for feature selection in the classifier model, the comp lexity measure (f) provides a reasonable estimate of the complexity across differ ent outcomes. The table below outlines the proposed steps for evaluating classifi cation complexity. Step 1: Establish an internal control for the dataset using covariate information to define the easiest classification problem. Ensure that the gene expression dataset contains at least a few relevant probesets for this problem. For example, gender will not work as an easy problem if the microarray chip contains no probesets for the primary or secondary aspects of gender. Step 2: Define one or more additional problems for the data set, if possible. For example, tissue site was used as an additional outc ome for the MRC-CRC
43 dataset. As before, each outcome defined here must have relevant probesets in the data. Step 3: Compute the complexity measure on all the outcomes proposed. Step 4: Compute the correlation to describe the change in c omplexity across the different outcomes as a function of classifier accu racy. Step 5: Given the maximum classifier accuracy for the defin ed outcomes, the maximum expected classifier accuracy for a new outcome can be estimated from the correlation. Step 6: If the classifier performs much worse than the pred icted accuracy, a further refinement of the method is warranted. Else, the cl assifier model is shown to perform as well as it possible can on the dataset. In this case, the method recommends investigation of the intrinsic propertie s of the data before refining the model further. Consider the case study presented in Section 3.2. The survival model for the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset had very poor accuracy. To investigate the reason for this lowered accuracy, two outcomes were defined using t he same classifier method. MRCCRC/Gender was used as the internal control and MRC -CRC/Site was used as a problem with medium level of difficulty to provide more inf ormation on the complexity of the data. f was very high (9.98) in the gender outcome, with a correspondingly high classifier accuracy (98.35%). The low classifier outcome for s urvival (56%) was found to correspond to the low value of f (0.33). This result indicates that the low accurac y in the survival outcome is a result of the inherent comple xity in the data and further refinement
44 of the classifier models will not aid in improving accuracy without a severe loss of generality. Here, the data may be investigated furt her to reduce the inherent complexity by some means. Alternately, other classifier models may be tested that can deal with the complex feature space in a more efficient manner. A n example of this will be provided in Chapter 5. 3.9 Summary Data complexity was proposed as a means to explain the classifier performance on two gene expression datasets (the MRC-CRC and NS CLC datasets). Three methods of quantitatively measuring classification complexity in gene expression data were proposed. The sources of data complexity were explo red and used to propose three measures of complexity (t, f and 0). Experimental results were used to compare the complexity of microarray gene expression datasets w ith maximum achieved classification accuracy. Correlation of these measures with classi fier performance was used to determine the usefulness of the measures. In this s tudy, outcomes with larger 0 or lower t and f values tended to have lower overall classification accuracy except in the case of gender classification where a strong signal exists in a small number of genes. The complexity measure f was shown to have a clear relationship with classi fier accuracy. A methodology was proposed to assess the complexity o f a dataset given a problem definition and a classifier model.
45 CHAPTER 4 REDUCTION OF DATA COMPLEXITY FOR GENE EXPRESSION MODELS USING QUANTIZATION 4.1 Introduction As discussed in Chapter 3, the intrinsic heterogen eity of samples in a microarray gene expression dataset can lead to complex classif ier models with low predictive accuracy. The large number of features available in a typical microarray experiment, along with the high resolution of the data can lead to complex decision boundaries. For instance, the MRC-CRC data contains 54,675 probeset s, each taking a value of 0.0 to 15.0 with a 6-digit precision. Methods to reduce th ese sources of data complexity aim at creating simpler classifier models and extracting p redictive signatures. This chapter explores the use of quantization of gene expression datasets for data reduction. Section 4.2 describes the MRC-CRC dataset as a cas e study of a complex dataset. Reduction of data complexity by quantization is dis cussed in Section 4.3. Three different methods of data quantization are presented in Secti on 4.4, followed by results of their application to the MRC-CRC dataset in Section 4.5. Finally, the modified complexity of the quantized datasets is examined in Section 4.6. 4.2 Case Study: Survival Analysis of MRC-CRC Dataset Chapter 3 described some of the sources of heterog eneity in gene expression datasets and demonstrated the impact of complexity on the predictive accuracy of classifier models on MRC-CRC and NSCLC datasets. Th e MRC-CRC dataset was
46 analyzed as a two-class survival analysis problem t o generate a predictive signature for patient survival (MRC-CRC/Survival) and the best we ighted classifier accuracy was found to be 56%. The complexity measures (t, f and 0) proposed in Chapter 3 indicated that the MRC-CRC dataset contained significant information, as demonstrated by the high predictive accuracies on the MRC-CRC/Gender problem However, re-organizing the samples to setup the survival problem resulted in a higher complexity dataset. The measures indicated that higher accuracies were prob ably not attainable on the dataset in the original form for the classifier models conside red. Two steps were recommended to generate predictive signatures from the data: first the data had to be refined in some way to reduce the complexity and second, a better class ifier model could be designed to address the characteristics of the underlying class information. 4.3 Reduction of Data Complexity It was shown in Chapter 3 that when studying gene expression datasets with a relatively heterogeneous cohort of samples, small d ifferences in gene expression could be lost in the experimental and biological level of va riability (or noise) in the data. For example, when studying the effects of a drug on a c ohort of cancer patients, gene expression differences due to secondary aspects of the study such as gender, age or race may in fact be more prominent than the primary effe ct of the drug. The high resolution of the data, relative to the expected effect size, can further add to the complexity of the data. To efficiently extract the drugs effect in this ex ample, the relevant differences in gene expression between samples of different classes nee d to be magnified relative to the
47 minor differences between samples of the same class In noisy datasets, this magnification of the signal may reduce the complexi ty of analysis. Feature selection is a popular approach to achieve this magnification of i mportant gene expression differences [48, 50, 51, 77]. Retaining only a small set of inf ormative features aids in simplifying classifier boundaries (see Section 2.3.3). A comple x algorithm is more prone to being fine-tuned to the specific dataset and often fails when applied to newer samples [58, 68]. Thus, most algorithms incorporate some mechanism of limiting the noise in a dataset to improve the accuracy of analysis and to build robus t models for prediction [13, 14, 25, 34, 77]. 4.3.1 Quantization to Reduce Data Complexity One approach to reducing data complexity is to enh ance the contrast within the dataset by altering the individual expression level s either at the probeset level or for the data as a whole . In general, this approach aim s at magnifying the differences between distinct groups of samples. Small differenc es in expression consistent with the sample grouping are magnified along with the larger and more pronounced differences and hence can contribute to the analysis more effec tively . One way to achieve this contrast enhancement of the data is quantization of the continuous gene expression data into a distinct num ber of levels . For example, when working with a single gene to separate samples into two classes, having more than two levels for expression could potentially render the analysis complex. This issue is illustrated in Figure 4-1, where the variable Color with three distinct levels (one level for each shade of gray) is used to separate the dat a into the two classes of Shape
48 ( Squares and Triangles ). While using the three levels of Color yields a complex classifier, quantizing the variable to two levels ( Light white and light gray and Dark black), as shown in Figure 4-2, can yield a simpler classifier for prediction. 4.4 Quantization Techniques for Microarray Data Several techniques exist in literature for quantiz ing gene expression data into meaningful levels to aid in improving the accuracy of subsequent analysis. In , the authors proposed the use of clustering techniques t o find a natural grouping of expression levels in the data. The probesets were reassigned v alues based on their group membership. Parametric analysis of the data has als o been used in a similar manner to Squares Triangles Variable : Color Class : Shape Figure 4-1: Example of a two-class dataset with multiple leve ls for a feature Figure 4-2: An example of quantizing a feature from three leve ls to two levels to represent a two-class problem
49 find overlapping Gaussian distributions that descri bed the spread of the data . Each of these methods were described in the context of spec ific analysis such as finding genes that were turned "on" or "off" in different tissue types. However, these techniques have not been applied to understand if resulting classif ication accuracy is altered as a result. Modifications of some of these techniques are propo sed in the following sections to be more suitable for developing cancer-related signatu res. 4.4.1 K-Means Clustering K-means clustering estimates the number of groups that exist within a given dataset . When the number of groups the data is known in advance, the method is straightforward to use. However, the technique also proves to be useful in exploring the types and numbers of sub-groups within a cohort of samples. Here, each probeset is analyzed separately using varying values of K to indicate the number of possibly distinct groups of expression values that exist in the sampl es for the selected probeset. The value of K that yields the tightest clusters (lowest within-c luster variation) as well as the largest between-cluster variation is chosen to represent th e number of levels for that probeset . After clusters or levels are determined, a typical application of this method relabels the gene expression of the probeset for indi vidual samples by the level or cluster that it belongs to. This re-labeling technique work s quite well when just information regarding group membership is required. However, wh en expression values are compared across genes or used to build classifiers, the meth od can fail to maintain the ordering of the samples in the expression space, and hence the distinction between the groups. Figure
50 4-3 uses the gene expression value for 10 samples a nd a single probeset to demonstrate a loss of information on relative expression differen ces when the expression values are reassigned based on cluster labels, and highlight t he advantage of using cluster centroids to retain information on the ordering of samples wi th the data. Thus, instead of relabeling the samples by the group or cluster index, it is proposed that the expression value for an individual sample is replaced by the centroi d of the cluster to which it belongs. A practical drawback of this method is the limitat ion in the maximum value of K that can be explored. The K-means algorithm is desi gned to find K distinct groups in the dataset, and in the worst case scenario, each sampl e in the dataset forms an individual cluster. Thus, K can take on a maximum value equal to the number of samples in the dataset. When the range of expression levels is on a compressed scale, such as in the case of RMA normalized data  represented in the log2 scale (3.0-14.0), a few hundred samples can adequately represent the spread of the data samples. In cases where the range of data is very large, for example a range from 1.0 to 6000.0, as in a MAS5.0 normalized 0 5 10 15 "#$Gene expression Cluster index 0 5 10 15 12Gene expression Cluster index Gene expression Gene expression Figure 4-3: Example of K-means clustering. (a) Use of cluste r index as sample label does not affect analysis (b) Use of cluster index results in loss of information on relative differences in expression levels (a) ( b )
51 dataset , several thousand samples may be requi red to adequately represent the entire data range. However, in practical situations, the g ene expression datasets are limited to only a few hundred samples. Thus, the method works when the values consist of very tight clusters around a few expression levels and c an fail when the clusters span a large range of expression values. The effect of quantizat ion on the dataset due to clustering must be carefully examined before proceeding with g ene expression analyses to ensure that the quantized data contains meaningful informa tion. 4.4.2 Noise Removal A method is described in  to reduce the noise i n a gene expression dataset by re-labeling the numerical levels in the data. The a ctual number L of distinct levels l in the gene expression matrix [ Am x n] is used to re-organize the data. The gene express ion values are rank-ordered by magnitude, and each leve l is first redefined as: 2 1 -+ =l l lb ba where: le b bl+ =0; L b b eL 0= ; ]) min([0 mna b = ; ]) max([mn La b = The interval [ b0 bL] is divided into equal sub-intervals. The new data matrix is created by analyzing each expression level if the value anm falls in the sub-interval [ bl-1 bl] then, it is quantized to the centroid of that sub -interval. High resolution gene expression datasets are expect ed to have a very large number of distinct levels. To reduce the number of distinct levels, a slight modification is
52 proposed. The number of labels L in the final dataset is pre-specified rather than computed from the data. The data is organized into bins that represent the range between the ordered levels. Each gene expression level is a nalyzed to determine which bin it belongs to. The probeset is then assigned a new exp ression value equal to the median or mean of that bin. This method aims at reducing the noise in the dataset by eliminating unnecessary levels, regardless of the number of lev els or groups within each probeset. Figure 4-4 demonstrates the working of the method u sing simulated gene expression data for 10 samples and a single gene. As with K-means clustering, the effectiveness of th e method depends on the characteristics of the data being analyzed. The met hod can maintain the integrity of the data at the probeset level when working with a smal l range of expression levels. Data represented on a log-2 scale inherently has a lower range than the original data, and can be represented more easily with a relatively small L As the value of L is increased, the 051015Gene expression levelLabeling of samples for different levels using the noise removal algorithm Modified noise removal; 2 levels Modified noise removal; 3 levels Original noise removal Original data Figure 4-4: An example to demonstrate the noise removal algorit hm for quantization of gene expression data
53 new expression values begin to converge around the original values. Thus, a small L would be adequate to represent the data without los ing significant information. However, since the method converts the data into a set of L uniform intervals, when the range of expression values is very large, an adequate number of levels L have to be used in order to maintain the relative differences between probes ets. For example use of L =10 in a MAS5.0 dataset with a range from 1.0 to 6000.0 can severely distort the contrast between low and high expressing samples. Use of a large L on the other hand, can maintain the contrast between the extreme values as well as limi t the noise in the data. The selection of the quantization parameter L is thus dependent on the characteristics of the nu merical data. 4.4.3 Simple Rounding A simple method for reducing the resolution of dat a is to limit the numerical precision of the data . Practically, many gener alized gene expression analysis algorithms ignore the higher significant digits. Th e use of all the significant digits to create a numerical or mathematical model of the bio logical problem tends to generate models that are very specific to the given sample s et. Such highly specific models rarely work well in predicting the class of new samples. S light perturbations in gene expression values, either due to experimental variation or gen etic differences, can lead to significantly different models that cannot be valid ated on independent samples. Thus, a straightforward way to reduce the resolution of a g ene expression dataset is to reduce the number of significant digits in the numerical repre sentation. The number of significant digits that are retained can have an impact on the outcome of analysis and the accuracy of
54 prediction models. Hence, it is necessary to experi ment with the level of quantization, and choose an optimal tradeoff between resolution o f the data and loss of accuracy. Figure 4-5 shows the effect of rounding on the dist ribution of expression levels for 10 samples using 4 significant digits. The figu re shows the change in spread of the samples as the number of significant digits is redu ced. The rounding technique used here analyzes the dataset by examining each individual e xpression value in the dataset. Thus, the relative expression levels in the data as well as the ranking of the probesets or samples within the dataset remain unaltered. 4.5 Experiments Using Quantization The goal of the case study presented in Section 4. 2 was to generate a predictive signature for patient survival in the MRC-CRC datas et. The survival times were stratified into high risk (less than 36 months of survival: n = 37) and low risk (greater than 36 051015Gene expression levelLabeling of samples for different levels using rounding to decimal Rounding to integer Rounding to 2 digits Rounding to 3 digits Original data Figure 4-5: Example of the effect of rounding to decimal on a gene expression dataset
55 months of survival: n = 84). The data (54675 featur es) was processed using RMA normalization and represented as a continuous value from 0.0 to 15.0 with 6 digit precision. Three classifiers (C4.5 DT, SVM and NN) were used to build models in a 10fold CV setup and the best weighted accuracy of the classifiers was found to be 56%. The motivation for quantization of gene expression data is largely dependent on the problem definition and the type of analysis to be performed on the data. Here, the usefulness of the quantization algorithms and the s election of quantization parameters are analyzed in the context of survival analysis of gen e expression data, a highly complex classification problem. The NSCLC dataset is also s tudied here to compare the effect of quantization on classifier performance when working with datasets of different complexity. As before, the NSCLC dataset (n=62) was transformed into a two-class problem using a cut-off for survival time of 30 mon ths (median survival time). Patients who died within 30 months were considered poor prog nosis (n = 20), otherwise they had a good prognosis (n = 42). The data consisted of 71 29 features stored in MAS5.0 data format with a 6-digit precision and range of 10.0-6 000.0. 4.5.1 Experimental Setup to Test the Effectiveness of Quantiz ation Algorithms Table 4-1 provides the range of values for the qua ntization parameters used for each of the datasets by the three methods. The K-me ans algorithm uses K the number of clusters as a parameter. The noise removal method c onsiders L the number of discrete levels and the rounding algorithm uses R the number of significant digits to retain after rounding, as parameters.
56 Table 4-1: Quantitative description of quantization parameters MRC-CRC dataset Quantization method Parameter used Min value Max value K-means clustering K 2 100 Noise-removal L 10 100 Rounding R 0 6 NSCLC dataset Quantization method Parameter used Min value Max value K-means clustering K 2 60 Noise-removal L 10 2000 Rounding R 0 6 Chapter 3 showed that the MRC-CRC/Survival as well as the NSCLC/Survival datasets contained several probesets that were sign ificantly correlated with the survival outcome (Section 3.6). The quantization methods aim at improving the contrast in probesets that have small signals while also retain ing the effect of large signals. Thus, the number of probesets that are significantly associat ed with survival outcome in a quantized dataset can be used as one of the indicat ors of the effectiveness of quantization. The quantization algorithms may be categorized bas ed on whether the algorithm operates at the probeset level, or at a global leve l (using the entire dataset) to alter the data. Both methods of quantization retain the integ rity of the probeset level data, such as the relative ranking of the samples and the number of distinct groups of samples. Thus, univariate gene expression analysis can be used as an initial screening test of effectiveness for both types of quantization scheme s. Multivariable models are useful in practical situations to understand the collective e ffect of a set of genes on the survival outcome and used to test the selection of quantizat ion parameters for model building. Survival analysis may be performed on continuous su rvival data, or on dichotomized data, as described in Chapter 2. The C oxPH method works with continuous
57 survival data and requires a few levels in the data for effective modeling. Other methods such as the Students t-test and the K-M survivor e stimates work exclusively on two groups of data. The two groups of data are created in slightly different ways for each of these tests. The Students t-test is used to determine if the tw o groups of data have a significantly different expression profile for a se lected probeset [33, 65]. Hence, the two groups are formed by choosing an appropriate cut-of f for patient survival time. For example, patients with survival time less than 36 m onths are grouped in a Bad prognosis group, and the rest of the samples are g rouped in the Good prognosis group. On the other hand, K-M curves are used to determin e if the two groups have significantly different survival characteristics [6 6, 67]. In this case, the two groups are formed by defining an appropriate cut-off for expre ssion values. Often the median expression level is used as a threshold to form two groups of patients. K-M curves are estimated for each of these groups. A log-rank test is used to determine if the two survivor curves are significantly different. Each of these methods provides different means to u nderstand the data, and uses information in the gene expression dataset in sligh tly different ways. However, each method aims at answering a single question can a mathematical model be generated from the dataset to distinguish the groups of survi val? If such a model can be created, it would then be used to suggest the survival group, o r expected survival time for a new patient. The effect of the three quantization algor ithms was tested on the Students t-test, K-M and CoxPH in a univariate manner. Since all the three methods aim at analyzing the same aspect of the data, the outcomes of the analys es are expected to concur. Only those
58 parameter settings that yield a reasonable number o f significant probesets and the most consistent results across the analysis methods are retained for further inspection (see Table 4-1). 4.5.2 Effect of Quantization on Survival Analysis of MRC-CRC/Survival and NSCLC/Survival Datasets The number of probesets found to be significant us ing univariate tests in a quantized dataset is compared with the original ful l resolution data to assess the effectiveness of the quantization method. This info rmation is shown in Figure 4-6 and Figure 4-7 for the two datasets. The number of sign ificant probesets is expected to stabilize as the resolution of the data is altered from very coarse to very fine resolution (e.g. original resolution). For the MRC-CRC/Surviva l dataset, the number of significant probesets for each test remains stable except at th e coarsest resolutions (for example at R =0; L =40 and below; and K =2). A similar effect is seen with the noise removal me thod for the NSCLC/Survival dataset, with lower number of significant probesets for resolution L =200 and below. However, the opposite trend is seen for rounding an d K-means quantization. One reason for this effect due to rounding could be the scale of the data (0-6000.0). When working with such a large range of values, the small effect of the significant digits may add more noise than information for the univariate tests. Re ducing this data may enhance the contrast between the classes to improve the signifi cance of correlation with survival. Kmeans clustering assigns cluster centroids as the e xpression value. Given the large range of the data, at quantization levels of K =2 or K =10, an extreme contrast is introduced at
59 the probeset level. Such an effect is not observed in the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset that is represented on a log-2 scale with a range of 0-1 5.0. This result supports the hypothesis that the selection of the quantization method and i ts parameters should take into account the range of the data and the inherent data complex ity. It was shown in Chapter 3 that predictive classifi ers may be built on datasets with small numbers of significant features, if these fea tures have a high contrast between the classes. Thus, it is important to assess the qualit y of each quantized dataset individually. The reduction in the number of significant probeset s may result from information being lost with the resolution. Alternately, these settin gs may be improving the probesets with high level of contrast, while all the probesets wit h lower levels of contrast are suppressed. Although the variation in the total number of sign ificant probesets is lower at the higher resolution settings, these datasets may incl ude probesets that are noisy and hence not highly correlated to the outcome. As the resolu tion is lowered, the noise is expected to diminish since the contrast is expected to be en hanced in the highly correlated probesets as well as probesets with low levels of c orrelation. The lower variation in the number of significant probesets for the medium-reso lution settings suggests that a low complexity dataset can be used in place of the high resolution original data while still retaining all the relevant features of the dataset. If the dataset created by a specific quantization m ethod is consistent with the original dataset and maintains the integrity of the expression values at the probeset level, the result of the three analyses should be consiste nt for the probeset. Figure 4-8 (MRCCRC/Survival) and Figure 4-9 (NSCLC/Survival) summa rize this consistency in results. Figure 4-8b a shows the number of probesets in each dataset for which all three tests had
60 significant p values. Note that in the baseline MRC -CRC/Survival dataset (Figure 4-6), the three tests individually found several thousand features to be significant (Student's ttest: 6000; CoxPH: 11000; K-M: 8500). However, only about 1100 probesets had significant p values for all three tests. The trend for the change in number of significant probesets that was observed in Figure 4-6 is still maintained. Figure 4-8b shows the total number of probesets that had concordant results acr oss the tests. As before, the higher resolution datasets have very little variation in t he total number of concordant probesets, indicating that the information content is consiste nt with the original dataset. Similar trends are observed in the NSCLC/Survival dataset. (Figure 4-9). These results suggest that at least a few significant probesets are being retained in the dataset by each quantization method and the different parameter set tings. Figure 4-8b also shows that at coarser settings, a large number of probesets have consistent p values across the tests. However, only a small subset is significantly relat ed to survival.
61 Figure 4-6: # Significant probesets in the MRC-CRC/Survival datasets for the quantized datasets 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate Student's T-test Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate CoxPH Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate K-M curves Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High # significant probesets # significant probesets # significant probesets
62 Figure 4-7: # Significant probesets in the NSCLC/Survival d ataset for the quantized datasets 0 300 600 900 R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate Student's T-test Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High 0 300 600 900 R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate CoxPH Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High 0 300 600 900 R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 # probesets significant across all three testsUnivariate K-M curves Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High # significant probesets # significant probesets # significant probesets
63 (a) (b) Figure 4-8: Number of probesets with concordant p values acro ss all three univariate tests on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 # probesets significant across all three tests# significant probesets (at level 0.05) across all three univariate tests Rounding Noise removal K-means Low High Resolution Low High Low High Baseline 34000 36000 38000 40000 42000 44000 46000 # probesets significant across all three tests# probesets with concordant p-values across all thr ee tests Rounding Noise removal K-means Low High Resolution Low High Low High Baseline # probesets # probesets
64 (a) (b) Figure 4-9: Number of probesets with concordant p values acro ss all three univariate tests on the NSCLC /Survival dataset 0 100 200 300 R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 # probesets significant across all three tests# probesets with concordant p-values across all thr ee tests Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 # probesets significant across all three tests# probesets with concordant p-values across all thr ee tests Rounding Noise removal K-means Baseline Low High Resolution Low High Low High # probesets # probesets
65 4.5.3 Multivariable Analysis Quantization of the gene expression data was used to reduce the complexity of the data to aid in the use of simpler classifiers as we ll as creating simpler classifier boundaries. Chapter 3 used three classifiers (C4.5 DT, SVM and NN) in a 10-fold CV setup to generate models of survival. The results i ndicated that a better model needed to be designed for the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset. The s ame classifier experiments were repeated on the quantized datasets to determine if the modified data was better suited for use with the described classifier setup. Student's t-test was used as the initial feature selection step to compare the effect of feature sel ection with the effect of quantization as a data reduction technique. Figure 4-10 and Figure 4-11 show the weighted accu racy of the classifiers for the quantized datasets (MRC-CRC/Survival) using C4.5 DT and NN for a varying number of features. Figure 4-12 and Figure 4-13 show the same for the NSCLC/Survival dataset for NN and SVM. SVM for MRC-CRC/Survival and C4.5 DT fo r NSCLC/Survival did not perform better than the other classifiers presented here, and thus are not represented in the graphs. For the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset (Figur e 4-10 and Figure 4-11), it is seen that the behavior is complex, however, in general, the classifiers tend to perform with better accuracy with the quantized datasets than wi th the original full resolution data that is used as the baseline for comparison. The results indicate that accuracy is impacted by interaction between the number of features and quantization parameters. For exampl e, L =10 performs better than L =100 when 50 features are used ( L -10 : 68% and L -100 : 48%), but worse when the number of features is 3000 ( L -10 : 38% and L -100 : 45%). The graphs do not show clear trends t hat
66 can be used to determine the best combination of pa rameters for quantization and feature selection. This suggests that it is important to ex plore the settings for both types of data reduction to obtain the best accuracy for predictio n. However, the results also indicate that quantization may lead to improved accuracy. Fi gure 4-14 and Figure 4-15 compares the best performing quantization parameters with th e baseline accuracies for the MRCCRC/Survival dataset. Figure 4-16 and Figure 4-17 s how the same for the NSCLC/Survival dataset. The graphs show that each q uantization method performs differently. For example, maximum accuracy for roun ding is obtained when higher numbers of features are selected, however, for nois e removal the maximum accuracy occurs with fewer features selected. The data also suggests that relatively coarse data produces the highest accuracy. Note here that the r ange of accuracies for the NSCLC/Survival dataset is lower than the accuracy o btained in Chapter 3 due to different numbers of t-test features selected for classificat ion.
67 Figure 4-10: Performance of C4.5 DT on the quantized MRC-CRC /Survival datasets. Each classifier result is compared to the perfo rmance on the baseline dataset (shown in red dashed lines) 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: Rounding R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: Noise removal L=10 L=20 L=30 L=40 L=50 L=60 L=70 L=80 L=90 L=100 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: K-means Clustering K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 Baseline Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy
68 Figure 4-11: Performance of NN on the quantized MRC-CRC/Su rvival datasets. Each classifier result is compared to the performance on t he baseline dataset (shown in red dashed line) 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: Rounding R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: Noise removal L=10 L=20 L=30 L=40 L=50 L=60 L=70 L=80 L=90 L=100 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 Weighted average accuracy# T-test features selectedQuantization method: K-means Clustering K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 Baseline Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy
69 Figure 4-12: Performance of NN on the quantized NSCLC/Survi val datasets. Each classifier result is compared to the performance on t he baseline dataset (shown in red dashed line) 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features usedQuantization method: Rounding R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features usedQuantization method: Noise-removal L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features usedQuantization method: K-Means Clustering K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 k=60 Baseline Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy
70 Figure 4-13: Performance of SVM on the quantized NSCLC/Su rvival datasets. Each classifier result is compared to the performance on t he baseline dataset (shown in red dashed line) 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features usedQuantization method: Rounding R=0 R=1 R=2 R=3 R=4 R=5 R=6 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features used Quantization method: Noise-removal L=10 L=50 L=100 L=200 L=300 L=400 L=500 L=600 L=700 L=800 L=900 L=1000 L=1100 L=1200 L=1300 L=1400 L=1500 L=1600 L=1700 L=1800 L=1900 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Weighted average accuracy# T-test features usedQuantization method: K-Means Clustering K=2 K=10 K=20 K=30 K=40 K=50 K=60 Baseline Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy Weighted accuracy
71 Figure 4-14: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for C4.5 DT u sing the best parameter setting for quantization on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset. Graph legends: x-axis: T-test feat ures used, y-axis: Weighted accuracy for classifier Figure 4-15: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for NN usin g the best parameter setting for quantization on the MRCCRC/Survival dataset. Graph legends: x-axis: T-test feature s used, y-axis: Weighted accuracy for classifier 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 Rounding R=0 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 Noise removal L=10 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 K-means Clustering K=10 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 Rounding R=1 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 Noise removal L=50 Baseline 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 101003005007009002000 K-means Clustering K=60 Baseline Rounding Rounding Noise removal Noise removal K Means clustering K Means clustering
72 Figure 4-16: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for NN usin g the best parameter setting for quantization on the NSCLC /Survival dataset. Graph legends: x-axis: T-test features u sed, y-axis: Weighted accuracy for classifier Figure 4-17: Comparison of the weighted accuracies for SVM usi ng the best parameter setting for quantization on the NSCLC /Survival dataset. Graph legends: x-axis: T-test features u sed, y-axis: Weighted accuracy for classifier 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Rounding R=2 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090Noise-removal L=1600 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090K-Means Clustering K=30 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1 2 5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Rounding R=1 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1 2 5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Noise-removal L=10 Baseline 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 125102030405060708090K-Means Clustering K=40 Baseline Rounding Rounding Noise removal Noise removal K Means clustering K Means clustering
73 Figure 4-18 (MRC-CRC/Survival) and Figure 4-19 (NS CLC/Survival) compare the best weighted accuracies for each method of qua ntization independent of the features used for modeling. The figures clearly indicate tha t the predictive accuracy of the classifier models improves with quantization of the data. The noise removal algorithm tends to do the best in improving accuracy while re ducing the resolution of the dataset. The weighted accuracy for the MRC-CRC/Survival data set was improved from 56% to 68% and the accuracy for the NSCLC/Survival dataset improved from 67% to 90% for the feature selection settings presented here. Stat istical tests were used to determine if the improvement per fold of the 10-fold CV was signific ant. For each dataset, this change was found to be significant at a level of 0.05 (MRC -CRC/Survival: p value=0.035; NSCLC/Survival: p value=0.008). (a) ( b ) Figure 4-18: Comparison of the best weighted accuracies usin g the three methods of quantization for the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset 59% 68% 61% 55%40% 50% 60% 70% RoundingNoise removal K-meansBaselineWeighted accuracyPerformance of C4.5 DT 57% 65% 57% 56%40% 50% 60% 70% RoundingNoise removal K-meansBaselineWeighted accuracyPerformance of NN
74 4.6 Classification Complexity Using Quantization Figure 4-20 shows the complexity of a quantized da taset with the measure f as defined in Chapter 3. f is shown for the best quantized dataset ( L =10) for the MRCCRC/Survival dataset. It can be seen that the compl exity of the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset has been reduced, and the classifier accura cy has increased. The complexity of this dataset is now equivalent to the MRC-CRC/Site dataset (see Chapter 2). As predicted by f, the corresponding classifier accuracies are similar It can be noted that the accuracy of the MRC-CRC/Site dataset has decreased. This sug gests that the quantized dataset at L =10 can be used to generate a predictive model for the survival problem. A better quantization parameter setting has to be determined to obtain better accuracies with the MRC-CRC/Site dataset. The complexity and the classi fier accuracy of the MRCCRC/Gender dataset remain the same as before sugges ting that the information regarding gender is maintained in the quantized dataset. Figure 4-19: Comparison of the best weighted average accuracies using the three methods of quantization for the NSCLC/Survival dataset 87% 90% 69% 67%50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% RoundingNoise removal K-meansBaselineWeighted accuracyPerformance of NN 68% 76% 67% 60%50% 60% 70% 80% Rounding Noise removal K means Baseline Weighted accuracyPerformance of SVM ( b ) (a)
75 Figure 4-20: Measure of complexity on the best quantized MRCCRC/Survival dataset This result further emphasizes that the quantizati on methods retain useful information in the data at all the parameter settin gs and lower resolution datasets can be used instead of the original high resolution datase ts to create better predictive classifier models. Such models created on simpler datasets are expected to have simpler decision boundaries and hence be able to generalize to indep endent samples for prediction. 4.7 Summary Data quantization was explored to limit the resolu tion of gene expression data to yield low complexity data for analysis. Three metho ds of quantization were proposed and tested on the MRC-CRC/Survival and NSCLC/Survival. Concordance in the results of univariate analyses indicated that the three method s altered the data in a consistent manner. Experiments with classifier models indicate d that the quantization techniques aided in improving classification accuracy by creat ing simpler models for analysis. Thus, 98% 67%67% 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% MRC-CRC/GenderMRC-CRC/SiteMRC-CRC/SurvivalWeighted accuracyComplexity measure on quantized data Classifier accuracy Complexity measure Complexity measure f f f ff
76 quantization of gene expression data creates datase ts with low complexity and provides the ability to build robust and reliable prediction models.
77 CHAPTER 5 A COST-SENSITIVE MULTIVARIABLE FEATURE SELECTION FOR GENE EXPRESSION ANALYSIS USING RANDOM SUBSPACES 5.1 Introduction As stated in earlier chapters, one aim for buildin g gene expression models is to identify signatures that provide accurate clinicall y-relevant biomarkers of disease. Chapter 3 analyzed the impact of data complexity on classifier accuracy, while Chapter 4 used quantization to reduce data complexity and imp rove classifier accuracy. This chapter explores the use of feature selection to im prove classifier accuracy. Section 5.2 illustrates the need for a multivariab le approach in modeling biological processes using the example of a molecul ar pathway involving the Ras family of proteins. The random subspace approach is descr ibed in Section 5.3. A previously developed random-subspace based approach for multiv ariable feature selection (MFSRS) is described in Section 5.4 and extended to inc orporate a cost sensitive aspect (MFSRSc) in Section 5.5. Results are summarized in this section and demonstrate the improved classification accuracy from using the ext ended method. Future work is summarized in Section 5.6. 5.2 Multivariable Models One of the first stages of gene expression analysi s is to reduce the dimensionality of the data by selecting a small set of features th at are reliably expressed at different
78 levels across different classes of samples. Many te chniques for feature selection analyze the data in a univariate fashion to determine if a gene is significantly associated with the outcome of interest. The classifier models presente d thus far utilize univariate tests (Student's t-test) as the basis to select relevant features. However, many biological processes are governed by multiple genes acting alo ng pathways [8, 83]. This domain knowledge suggests that a mathematical process that incorporates multiple variables in the feature selection process is likely to capture the biological process better than univariate feature selection and thus improve the p redictive ability of the classifier. 5.2.1 Molecular Pathways An Example A genetic pathway is defined by the interactions be tween groups of genes with individual functions . These genes are typically dependent on specific interactions for the cell to function normally. Mutation in a gene a ctive within a pathway can disrupt the functioning of the pathway. For example, consider a molecular pathway for the Ras family of proteins [40, 83, 84]. These proteins del iver signals from cell surface receptors via several protein-to-protein signals to ultimatel y affect cell growth, differentiation and cell survival . Ras communicates signals from th e cell surface to the nucleus and mutation of the Ras gene can disrupt these sequence s of protein signaling and cause transmission of the signaling even in the absence o f an extracellular stimulus. This can ultimately lead to the development of cancer [40, 8 3].
79 Figure 5-1: Example of a molecular pathway involving Ras. (Image gene rated from GeneGO, St. Louis, MO) Figure 5-1 provides an example of a molecular path way involving Ras. Disrupting the expression of Ras can cause changes in transcri ption downstream from Ras in the pathway [8, 40]. Thus, information on expression of genes in a pathway can provide a hint regarding where a disruption in signaling may have occurred. Further, it can be seen that the change in expression of a single gene can rarely provide an indication of the complete picture of the tissue function. In additio n to this, a gene may be a part of multiple pathways that could drive the biological s tate of a cell. The supporting genes in a selected pathway can aid in determining which of these pathways is active in the cell. Hence, multivariate selection of gene probesets in a gene expression dataset would be expected to provide more information regarding the state of the cell than univariate analysis.
80 5.2.2 Existing Multivariable Gene Expression Techniques Multivariable gene expression models have been dev eloped using different types of analysis methods. Continuous models such as CoxP H have been used to select subsets of features that are correlated with survival to de velop clinical relevant signatures for breast cancer . A supervised principal component approach was publ ished in  that modified the unsupervised technique of principal component a nalysis by selecting subsets of components that were shown to be related to a speci fied outcome. The genes used for the component analysis were univariately selected in a supervised manner using CoxPH. This method allowed selection of subsets of genes that w ere related to outcome via a specific combination, defined by the principal component. Th e contribution of each gene to the signature was altered by the component scores rathe r than the traditional CoxPH coefficients. The technique was constructed so as t o allow inclusion of covariates in the model to improve predictive ability. The models wer e shown to extract biologically relevant gene expression signatures for various mod els of disease. The principal component approach was used in combi nation with a maximum entropy linear discriminant analysis (MLDA)  to discriminate normal from tumor prostatic tissue. In this case, the MLDA weights as signed to each feature was modified by the principal components and the features ranked in decreasing order of the weights. The method was found to identify clinical known biomark ers of the disease. A SVM-based feature selection method is described in  that steps through the gene expression dataset to generate a feature set t hat best fits the problem. At each step of the feature selection process, a feature that maxim izes the correlation of the feature set to
81 outcome is included into the model. The resultant f eature set is expected to be representative of the multi-gene pathways of the un derlying biology. An entropy based multivariate feature selection me thod is described in . The method estimates the entropy of the class variables on the model rather than on the data. Multivariate normal distributions are used to model the sparse data. The method was tested on several datasets and shown to perform wit h high predictive accuracy. 5.3 Random Subspace Approach The random subspace technique has been used to cre ate ensembles of classifiers to achieve accuracies higher than those obtained fr om a single classifier . Considering a problem in which many features are pr esent ( p >> n ), selection of the best features for distinguishing the samples of the two classes can create a projection on the feature space that can greatly aid in creating simp ler classifier boundaries. The greater the separation between the classes for each feature, th e better the ability to design a simple decision boundary. However, in complex datasets, it may be difficult to find many features that can individually separate the samples into the two clas ses. Statistical techniques have the advantage of a significant theoretical basis and al low partially overlapping distributions between two classes. However, when features with ov erlap are used in a classifier model, a complex decision boundary may be created, as illu strated in Figure 5-2.
82 Figure 5-3 illustrates the advantage of using rand om subspaces for multivariable feature selection in such complex cases. In a datas et with multiple features, where the individual features have poor separation between th e classes, use of the entire feature set for classification may lead to poor accuracy. Howev er, a projection of the data into a subset of the feature space could provide a better separation of the samples. In Figure 5-3 projection of the data onto the plane created by Ge ne 1 and Gene 3 provides a separation of the samples, while projection onto the other two planes yields poor separation. A classifier that uses this projection space for mode ling a gene expression signature may be expected to perform better than a classifier that u sed the entire feature space, or the features univariately. (a) ( b ) Figure 5-2: Illustration of distributions of featur es or probesets
83 The random subspace technique uses this concept to create ensembles of classifiers  as illustrated by Figure 5-4. A s ubset of features is randomly sampled from the entire set of features. This is a random s ubspace or a random projection of the feature space. A classifier is constructed from thi s random projection on the feature space. The process is repeated many times, each ti me selecting another random subset of features. If enough such random subspaces are creat ed then several subspaces may be obtained that optimally represent all the important features in the samples. Further, if the random subspaces cover all the important features e ffectively, then each classifier would potentially be tuned to learn a few characteristics of the population. This process inherently identifies subsets of features that are important for describing the underlying samples in a multivariate sense. The combination of feature subsets can provide a better understanding of the underlying data than using a s ingle feature set or creating a single classifier. Figure 5-3: A random projection of the data provides better se paration of samples
84 A typical application of the original random subsp ace classifier model described in  uses each of these classifiers to predict t he class of an unseen test example, and the resulting predictions are combined by a majorit y vote. The majority vote assigns the test sample to the class that was predicted by a ma jority of the random subspace classifiers. Since each classifier is tuned to lear n slightly different characteristics of the population, the class assigned by the majority vote will indicate that the test sample displayed characteristics of that class for a major ity of the random subspace classifiers. Further, since the sample characteristics are analy zed from multiple points of view, the majority vote is expected to perform better at lear ning the classes of samples than any single classifier. $nnn( )rn( $nnn' )rn' $nnn )rn nnnnn*+ Figure 5-4: Random subspace approach for feature selection n nn n nrn n nn
85 5.4 Multivariable Feature Selection Using Random Subspaces (MFSRS) The random-subspace approach was used for multivar iable feature selection in  by identifying the features used by these rand om subspace classifiers rather than use the ensemble of classifiers as the model for the ge ne expression signature. Thus, instead of using the random subspace classifiers to assign the class of a test sample, this new technique, termed MFS-RS, extracted the features us ed by the subspace classifiers. C4.5 DT  were used to build the subspace classifiers Since these classifiers select important features from accurate random subspaces, they inher ently select important features from an input set while creating the decision boundary. Standard C4.5 pruning is used to avoid over fitting that may occur by randomly selecting f eatures from such a large space. With large gene expression datasets that consist o f several thousand features, a large percentage of the features could be unrelated to the underlying classes, as evidenced by signatures with gene sets that consist of hundre ds of features [2, 4, 14]. These features do not provide any useful information for a classif ier and may reduce the accuracy of prediction. Selecting random subspaces that yield e xtremely inaccurate classifiers aids in quickly removing uninformative features. Thus, clas sifiers that perform very poorly on either the training or test samples indicate that t he specific combination of features used by the classifier may be safely dropped from the an alysis. Conversely, classifiers that can create an efficient decision boundary between the t raining samples of the classes can be used as an indicator that at least some of the feat ures are useful for describing the classes. A simple way to select the highest accuracy classif iers is to examine the prediction accuracy of each subspace classifier on a test set of samples. Use of these subsets of
86 features increases the likelihood that many of the important genes are included in the analysis as opposed to a univariate selection of fe atures. The MFS-RS method was applied to the MRC-CRC/Survi val problem (see Section 2.4.2). Chapter 3 showed that the dataset was relatively complex and in general, the prediction accuracies for survival are expected to be low. Figure 5-5 indicates that a large percentage of the subspaces created on this d ataset were extremely poor in predictive accuracy, and thus not very general. Les s than 0.05% of the subspaces were found to have predictive accuracies better than 80% Hence, the approach taken was to create as large a number of random subspaces as pos sible and sift through these subspaces to identify features used most often in subspaces t hat yield high-accuracy classifiers. Figure 5-5: Weighted test accuracies of 10000 trees on MRC-CRC/S urvival dataset The random subspace classifiers were created in a 10-fold CV setup. Two thousand subspaces were generated of size 200 each and a C4.5 decision tree was constructed from each random subspace. Subspace cla ssifiers within each fold were tested Weighted test accuracy per tree 0 20 40 60 80 100 0200040006000800010000 Tree IndexWeighted accuracy (%)
87 for prediction accuracies and a single subspace tha t attained the highest train and test accuracy was selected as the final classification m odel. Thus, 10 subspaces were extracted from the dataset (representing the best subspace of each fold) and combined into a single feature set. This procedure of extracting the best single featu re set from the dataset was conducted within a 10-fold CV to provide independen t samples for validation, thus yielding 10 feature sets for use. Survival models w ere created for these feature sets using three classifiers (C4.5 DT, NN and SVM). The averag e weighted accuracy of these classifiers on the 10 feature sets was used as a me asure of the performance of the technique. The Student's t-test was used as a univariate feat ure selection method for comparison on the same dataset. The n most significant features, ranked according to Students t-test p values, were used for building f eature sets for the same classifier methods in a 10-fold CV. The MFS-RS technique used an average of 81-96 features per feature set. To compare the performance of the two feature selection techniques, n in the Student's t-test approach was set to 100 and the av erage weighted accuracies of the 10fold CV were compared. Figure 5-6 shows that MFS-RS performed with better prediction accuracies than univariate feature selection . Since the featur es were selected in a multivariate fashion, it is expected to mimic the underlying biology of t he samples in a closer manner than the univariately chosen features.
88 Figure 5-6: Comparison of prediction accuracies using MFS-RS an d univariate feature selection methods for the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset 5.5 Cost-Sensitive Multivariable Feature Selection (MFS-RSc) Many practical gene expression datasets including MRC-CRC/Survival consist of unbalanced classes, i.e., the number of samples in different classes may be unequal. Larger numbers of samples in one class could bias the clas sifier towards predicting the larger class a majority of the time. In doing so, the clas sifier may gain in accuracy of prediction but the sensitivity and specificity (see Section 2. 6) of such classifiers may be drastically altered. When analyzing biomedical questions, it is often desirable to have a high sensitivity as well as a high specificity of predic tion. Classifier performance in such imbalanced datasets can be evaluated by using costsensitive learning tools . Evaluation of cost-s ensitive classifiers using cost curves was proposed in  to visualize classifier performanc e in imbalanced datasets. A wrapper approach was used in [91, 92] to address this issue and to improve minority class accuracy. The wrapper was used for optimization of a composite f-value to reduce the 40 45 50 55 60 SVMNNC4.5 DTWeighted accuracy (%)Comparison of prediction accuracy MFS-RS Univariate 58% 51% 54% 46% 59% 56%
89 average cost per test example for the datasets cons idered. The true positive rate of the minority class increased significantly without caus ing a significant change in the f-value. A modification of the MFS-RS technique is proposed here to factor in this imbalance in the class distributions. The method, t ermed MFS-RSc, chooses the best random subspaces to maximize both the sensitivity a nd the specificity of a random subspace classifier based on a pre-determined thres hold. The thresholds for prediction accuracy, specificity and sensitivity are set to a value lower than 100% to avoid selecting classifiers that are over-trained on the samples. I n this modification, multiple feature sets may be selected to maximize the representation of g ood features in the dataset. As before, 2000 subspaces were created of size 200 features each. A multivariable feature set was created by combining the features i n subspaces that simultaneously yielded 80% or greater specificity and sensitivity. All the features in the selected random subspaces were pooled together to form a new featur e space. Hence, each individual random subspace classifier may be re-created from t his space. Further, since the features are now pooled together, more features could be inc luded in the creation of a classifier than in the original subspace. A new classifier cre ated on this feature space has the choice of several of the individually important subsets of features, as well the ability to combine these features into a single decision boundary. The decision boundary created by this classifier is used as the final predictor for all n ew and unseen samples, evaluated in a 10fold CV setup.
90 Figure 5-7: Comparison of prediction accuracies of classifiers using the proposed MFS-RSc technique and univariate feature selection on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset Figure 5-7 shows the improvement in prediction acc uracy of the classifiers with use of the proposed multivariable feature selection SVM and NN were found to perform with much better prediction accuracies with the ran dom subspace features. However, the performance of C4.5 decision trees was found to be similar with both feature selection methods. The difference in performance of the three classifiers is most likely due to the difference in the use of features by the classifier methods. SVM and NN train on all the features used as an input and develop a decision bo undary based on these. On the other hand, C4.5 DT select only a small set of the input features to represent the classifier boundary. In doing so, some of the features may be removed from consideration. In such cases, C4.5 DT are useful for the initial stages of multivariable feature selection, and the classifier models such as SVM and NN are useful in creating the final prediction model. Figure 5-8 shows the sensitivity and specificity o f the classifiers with multivariable and univariate feature selection. Her e, the sensitivity of the classifier is the 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 SVMNNC4.5 DTWeighted accuracy (%)Comparison of prediction accuracy MFS-RSc Univariate 56% 51% 46% 46% 60% 68%
91 accuracy of the majority class (Good prognosis) a nd has similar values using either feature selection method. However, the specificity, or the accuracy of the Poor prognosis class, indicates that when using the univ ariate feature selection method, the classifiers are focused on the majority class at th e expense of the minority class. With the multivariable feature selection however, the accura cies of this class are significantly increased. MRF-RSc is able to boost the accuracy of the minority class without sacrificing the accuracy of the majority class, the reby increasing the overall accuracy of the classifier. These results were published in [93 ]. Figure 5-8: Comparison of the specificity and sensitivity of pr ediction using MFSRS and univariate feature selection on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset Figure 5-9 shows that in general, the prediction a ccuracies improve with the proposed modification of feature selection using ra ndom subspaces. As before, SVM and NN perform with better accuracies than univariate a nalysis while C4.5 DT does not result in significant increase in accuracy. 0 20 40 60 80 100Weighted accuracy (%)Comparison of prediction accuracy MFS-RS Univariate SpecificitySensitivity SVM NNC4.5 DT SVM NN C4.5 DT
92 The specificity and sensitivity of the best randomsubspace based classifiers using the proposed modification is compared to the best s ubspace classifier created using the original method (Figure 5-10). MFS-RS selected feat ures based on the weighted accuracy of each subspace classifier. This would potentially bias the classifier towards the majority class due to the unequal distribution of the classe s. MFS-RSc was proposed to retain features that were equally representative of both c lasses of survival. It can be seen that the specificity as well as sensitivity of the class ifier model are improved with the use of MFS-RSc. Figure 5-9: Comparison of classifier prediction accuracies f or MFS-RS, MFS-RSc and univariate feature selection on the MRC-CRC/Survival datas et 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 SVMNNC4.5 DTWeighted accuracy (%)Comparison of prediction accuracy MFS-RSc MFS-RS Univariate 59%51% 54% 46%60% 56%68% 58% 46%
93 Figure 5-10: Comparison of the best classifier sensitivity and specificity using MFSRS and MFS-RSc methods on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset 5.6 Future Work The random subspace technique was shown to work as a multivariable feature selection tool with C4.5 DT. Since MFS-RSc is used in conjunction with a classifier to pick the best features, it seems reasonable to try other classification schemes for the same purpose. Classifiers such as NN and SVM have been s hown to create accurate models for classification, and can be considered as candidates for random subspace based feature selection. Since these methods use all the input fe atures to create a decision boundary, it may difficult to select features from a subspace, r esulting in the use of the entire subspace. Algorithms such as SVM-RFE  provide a means to evaluate the weight of each support vector. These weights could be used to select features that are important for classification within a subspace. Other techniques such as regression models may be used instead of the C4.5 DT to select features. Regression models such as CoxPH or linear regression models can be 30 50 70 90Weighted accuracy (%)Comparison of prediction accuracy MFS-RSc MFS-RS SpecificitySensitivity 57% 41% 80%77%
94 designed to select a subset of the input features t o retain only those features that are correlated to the outcome and provide a good fit to the data . The features can be selected in a forward or backward selection model [ 67]. Good random subspaces are selected as before, and the selected features poole d to form input features for the final classifier model. Further work can be done in understanding the effe ct of features on classification accuracy. Features selected as important in subspac es that performed poorly could be assigned low weights while features in accurate sub spaces could be assigned higher weights. These weights could be used to influence t he classifier models to use better performing features to produce more predictive mode ls. The described models can also be extended to incor porate the quantization techniques described in Chapter 4 to further enhanc e the classification accuracy. 5.7 Summary The complexity of heterogeneous cancer with multipl e molecular pathways was used as a motivation for extending a feature select ion method using random subspaces. The predictor built using the original formulation of this feature selection method (MFSRS) was shown to perform with better accuracy than univariately selected features on the MRC-CRC/Survival dataset. A modification of the ori ginal formulation was proposed to account for the difference in sensitivity and speci ficity of predictors when working with imbalanced datasets (MFS-RSc). This new method of f eature selection used costsensitive analysis and was shown to improve the ove rall weighted accuracy of prediction.
95 It was also shown to boost the prediction accuracy in the minority class while retaining the high accuracies in the majority class.
96 CHAPTER 6 INTEGRATING BIOLOGICAL COVARIATES IN GENE EXPRESSION MODELS 6.1 Introduction In preceding chapters, classification complexity w as measured and methods were proposed for managing or reducing this complexity. The use of quantization to reduce data resolution and a multivariable feature selecti on method to reduce data dimensionality were shown to improve the predictive accuracy of classifiers in complex datasets. However, additional options exist for man aging complexity by accounting for the biological heterogeneity of tumor samples when creating gene expression models. One such approach was used in  for the predicti on of radiation sensitivity. This chapter experiments with the methods employed in th at paper and provides a more complete approach to the integration of selected bi ological indicators of cancer into a gene expression model. Biological indicators of cancer models are introdu ced in Section 6.2. A brief description of the radiosensitivity dataset and mul ti-linear regression model developed for prediction of radiosensitivity is presented in Sect ion 6.3. A systematic method to include biological variables in the linear regression model is discussed in Section 6.4 followed by results in Section 6.5. Verification of the propos ed model is presented in Section 6.6.
97 6.2 Biological Indicators for Cancer Models An important aspect in the management of cancer tr eatment is understanding how a patient will respond to a specific treatment such as radiation therapy. Customizing radiation therapy to maximize cancer cell death is beneficial, and predicting such a response of the cells to radiation therapy is impor tant for effective patient management. Genes such as Ras [40, 84] and p53  influence the response of tumor cells to radiation treatment. For example, the presence of a mutant Ras can indicate a higher likelihood of non-response to radiation, while the wild type Ras gene does not predict response to radiation treatment. Similarly, presenc e of a mutant p53 gene is used as an indicator for uncontrolled proliferation of cells, while a wild type p53 gene is known to be a tumor suppressor. The effect of these genes, b oth wild type and mutant, has been studied with respect to radiation sensitivity of ca ncer patients . Radiation sensitivity has been measured by applying a specific amount of radiation (2 Gy) and measuring survival fraction of the target cells. The measured survival fraction is referred to as SF2 and used to predict the sensitivity of patients to radiation treatment . Combining clinical indicators, such as the influen ce of these genes, with gene expression models of tumor characteristics has the potential to provide meaningful insight into the tumor biology. Models have been de veloped that incorporate clinical indicators such as tumor grade and angio-invasion [ 97] to build predictive models for prognosis of breast cancer. Here, the radiation sen sitivity of the NCI60 panel of cell lines is investigated by incorporating biological indicat ors into a gene expression model.
98 6.3 Multivariable Linear Regression for Prediction of Radiosens itivity A multivariable linear regression model was develo ped using gene expression data to predict the radiosensitivity of tumor cell lines . The model was built using a subset of 35 epithelial-based human tumor cell line s from the NCI60 panel of cancer cell lines representing significant biological diversity with respect to the tissue of origin (TO). Radiation sensitivity data, defined by survival fra ction after 2 Gy (SF2), was available for each cell line. The method used the Significance An alysis of Microarrays (SAM)  to select probesets with a false discovery rate of 5%. The model was shown to achieve a statistically significant (p=0.0002) predictive acc uracy of 62% for predicting radiosensitivity. The genes selected by the model w ere shown to be mechanistically involved in radiation sensitivity through wet-lab e xperiments, thus establishing the biological validity of the mathematical algorithm. Further work on enhancing the model showed that al though the gene expression based predictor was found to be accurate, the class ifier model was not accurate as the cell line population was increased to 48 (compared to 35 ) cell lines. The best linear regression-based classifier using the 48 cell lines correctly classified 28/48 samples (58%) compared to 25/35 (71%) for the best classifi er in the 35 cell line dataset. This result suggested that the linear regression model b ased only on gene expression data may not be able to capture the complexity of the proble m in detail. To address this issue, clinical indicators including tissue of origin (TO) Ras mutational status (wt/mut) (RAS) and p53 mutational status (wt/mut), that are known to be implicated in the biological regulation of radiosensitivity [83, 96], were inclu ded in the gene expression model for prediction of radiosensitivity. RAS and P53 status indicators are binary variables that
99 indicate wild type (wt) or mutational (mut) status of the gene for a cell line. The indicator for tissue of origin (TO) has 9 levels, one for eac h type of the tissue of origin for the tumor cell line . 6.4 Inclusion of Biological Covariates in Model Development In the published model , gene expression was u sed to predict radiation sensitivity using the following mathematical equati on. Gene Expression Model : SF2j = k0 + k1(yij) where ki ( i =0, 1) represents a model coefficient, computed dur ing the training process; yij represents the gene expression value for probeset i in cell line j of the n predictive probesets selected by the classifier and SF2j is the predicted radiosensitivity for cell line j A drop in predictive performance of this basic mod el was observed when tested on newer samples. An attempt was made to include cl inical indicators in the predictive model to capture the underlying biology more closel y. The complexity of the data due to the large number of features increases the difficul ty of integrating gene expression and biological (or clinical) parameters into a single m odel. The large number of gene expression measurements makes it much more likely t hat the most significant correlations to radiation sensitivity are gene expr ession probesets rather than biological variables.
100 Expanded linear mathematical models outlined by th e following equations allow inclusion of biological variables to construct indi vidual probeset models for explicitly integrating the biological parameters at the featur e selection step. Additive Model : SF2j = k0 + k1(yij) + k2(TO) + k3(RAS) + k4(p53) Interactive Model: SF2j = k0 + k1(yij) + k2(TO) + k3(RAS) + k4(p53) + k5(yij)(TO) + k6(yij)(RAS) + k7(TO)(RAS) + k8(yij)(p53) + k9(yij)(TO)(RAS) + where yij represents the gene expression value for probeset i in cell line j of the n predictive probesets selected by the classifier and SF2j is the predicted radiosensitivity for cell line j The goodness of fit, represented by an R2 value, is used to estimate the fit of linear regression models to the underlying data. Hi gher R2 values are a better fit for the data. Here, an adjusted R2 value (Adj-R2) was used instead of R2 to adjust for the addition of regressors in the equations. While R2 tends to increase with an increasing number of regressors, the Adj-R2 value will penalize the statistic for inclusion of regressors that are not correlated with the outcome. Thus, the usefulness of a modified linear model fo r the prediction of radiosensitivity in comparison to the existing mode l is assessed in terms of the least squares model fit parameter Adj-R2. Once a set of probesets is selected, a full model combining selected probesets/genes and biological p arameters can then be considered.
101 This effectively reduces the impact of a large numb er of gene expressions by forcing the biological parameters into the equation. 6.5 Analysis of Fit for the Linear Models The original gene expression-only model, as well a s the additive and the interactive linear regression models were used on 4 8 of the NCI60 panel of human cancer cell lines. The analysis was performed for each pro beset and the model fit parameter (Adj-R2) was used to determine if the model improved by in clusion of the covariates. Figure 6-1 shows a box plot of the Adj-R2 values from modeling each probeset individually when correlated with radiation respons e in the 48-cell line database for each of the three linear models. In the original gene ex pression-only model, relatively fewer probesets could achieve a model fit better than Adj -R2=0.2 (< 30 of the 7129 probesets), with the best fit being just above Adj-R2=0.3. The least squares fit for the additive model as well as the interactive models improve considera bly. The average fit for the additive model was found to be Adj-R2=0.28 with a maximum fit of Adj-R2=0.48. With the interactive model, the average fit improved to AdjR2=0.6 with a maximum value of AdjR2=0.84.
102 Figure 6-1: Adj-R 2 values for linear equations fitting SF2 on 48 cell lines 6.6 Verification of Model Fit Figure 6-1 indicates that the inclusion of biologi cal variables significantly improved the ability of most genes to describe the relationship between gene expression and radiosensitivity in a linear regression model. However, the inclusion of additional parameters and their interactions within the same e quation almost certainly leads to over fitting. Since all genes are considered separately with the addition of these parameters, the use of this strategy for ranking genes does not require that over-fitting not occur. However, it is hypothesized that for some probesets and biological variables, the interaction will, in some instances, provide signif icantly better model fit. Adj R 2 values for linear models with biological covariates Gene expression only models Additive models Interactive models
103 An observed improvement in Adj-R2 value of expanded linear models using biological variables such as RAS, p53 and TO could be from the addition of covariates that tends to improve the overall fit of the model regardless of information content . However, this also suggests that an improvement in Adj-R2 value of the linear fit can be similarly obtained when adding a randomly generated variable into the model instead of a variable that carries biological significance. It i s hypothesized that the improvement in the model fit due to inclusion of the biological co variates is due to relevant biological information contained in the covariates. Random var iables that do not have any meaningful information and are uncorrelated to the outcome are expected to produce models with lower Adj-R2 values. The random variables created for exploring the eff ect of RAS and p53 were created and uniformly distributed into two states ( one each for the mutated and wild-type status). The frequencies of these states were simil ar to the true distributions in the data. Similarly, a random variable was defined for TO, wi th each sample being assigned a tissue type at random. This new dataset with random ly assigned biological parameters was used to develop the basic and expanded linear m odels as described earlier. Table 6-1 documents the change in the model fit ( D R2: difference in Adj-R2 values of two models) when terms are added to a lin ear model. The table documents the average difference in Adj-R2 values observed across all the probesets. The vari ances of the measured D R2 values were very small for each tabulated result ( <0.006) and hence are not shown in the table. Both the change in fit from clinical indicators and randomly generated variables are recorded. For example, cons ider the linear model that includes gene expression values only. The Adj-R2 of the model is expected to change when a
104 covariate (e.g. TO) is added into the linear model (e.g. additive). This change in the AdjR2 value obtained by including the additional covaria te ( D R2=0.254) can be compared to the change obtained by including a randomly generat ed covariate ( D R2=0.256), as seen in Table 6-1. In this example, the finding suggests th at the inclusion of TO provided no more information than would be expected by chance. The biological covariates are expected to carry meaningful information and hence expected to increase the model fit when included in a linear model. This result might suggest that the biological variables may not be adding much information to the model, an d the improvement in model fit may be due to over-fitting of the data. However, when the random variables are included in the expanded interaction models, the true impact of the biological variables becomes more apparent. For example, the additive model considered earlier included TO a nd gene expression. When RAS is included in this model in an additive manner, the m odel-fit improves by D R2=0.256. The same improvement is observed when the random variab le is added to the GeneEx: TO model (R2 = 0.257). When RAS is included into the interaction model, the correlation improves as before by 0.272. However, the interacti on of the random variables for TO and RAS does not provide any meaningful information for modeling, and the correlation drops by 0.213 (R2 = -0.213). A similar behavior can be observed for each biolog ical covariate (RAS, p53 and TO), where inclusion of the variable in an additive manner improves the model fit just as well as including randomly generated variables. Inc lusion of the variables in an interaction model improves the fit considerably, as opposed to the random variables which always causes a poorer fit to the data. This behavior is observed even when
105 including all three terms in the interaction models where the Adj-R2 improves by 0.317 but the random variables cause a drop in correlatio n (R2 = -0.103). Table 6-1: Change in Adj-R 2 value (D DD DR 2 ) obtained by adding terms and complexity to the linear model. Results obtained with clinical indic ators TO, RAS and p53 are compared to Adj-R 2 values obtained using random variable for each indicator. Model terms Model Comparison Mean R 2 value Clinical indicators Random Variables GeneEx: TO GeneEx only vs. Additive 0.254 0.256 Additive vs. Interaction 0.134 0.146 GeneEx: RAS GeneEx only vs. Additive 0.060 0.004 Additive vs. Interaction 0.030 0.031 GeneEx: p53 GeneEx only vs. Additive 0.026 0.0007 Additive vs. Interaction 0.016 0.031 GeneEx: TO: RAS Basic vs. Additive 0.256 0.257 Additive vs. Interaction 0.272 -0.213 GeneEx: TO: p53 Basic vs. Additive 0.262 0.257 Additive vs. Interaction 0.198 -0.211 GeneEx: RAS: TO Basic vs. Additive 0.256 0.257 Additive vs. Interaction 0.272 -0.214 GeneEx: RAS: p53 Basic vs. Additive 0.062 0.022 Additive vs. Interaction 0.042 0.024 GeneEx: p53: TO Basic vs. Additive 0.262 0.257 Additive vs. Interaction 0.198 -0.212 GeneEx: p53: RAS Basic vs. Additive 0.062 0.022 Additive vs. Interaction 0.042 0.024 GeneEx: TO: RAS: p53 Basic vs. Additive 0.265 0.258 Additive vs. Interaction 0.317 -0.103 GeneEx: RAS: TO: p53 Basic vs. Additive 0.265 0.258 Additive vs. Interaction 0.317 -0.103 GeneEx: p53: TO: RAS Basic vs. Additive 0.265 0.258 Additive vs. Interaction 0.317 -0.103 Since inclusion of the biological variables in the additive models may not provide more information than inclusion of random variables in the model, there is a risk of over-
106 fitting to the data by including biological covaria tes. However, the behavior of the random variables in the interaction models clearly indicate that the biological variables do provide meaningful information, and rather than cause over-fitting of the model to the data, the biological covariates can be used to crea te a better model for predicting radiosensitivity of the tumor cells. Figure 6-2: Change in Adj-R 2 values obtained by including interaction terms in the linear model Figure 6-2 shows the change in the Adj-R2 value when a term is added to a model. The interaction of random variables with gene expre ssion data alone provides a marginal improvement in the fit, as expected by the mathemat ical construct of the modeling process. However, in the interaction models, when t wo or more random variables interact, the lack of information in each variable translates into poorer fit of the linear model to the radiation sensitivity outcome. In cont rast, the interaction of the biological -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4Single variableTwo variablesThree variablesMean R2Change in Adj-R2value from additive to interaction models Comparison of clinical indicators and random variab les Clinical indicators Random variables TT RASP53 RAS:P53TT:RAS TT:P53
107 variables adds more information to the linear model as shown by the improvement in Adj-R2 values in Table 6-1 and Figure 6-2. However, it is intriguing that not all variables c onsidered had similar impact in improving the model. For example RAS was significan tly more important than p53 in improving the model. This observation suggests that at least part of the improvement obtained by the expanded linear models is due to a better representation of biology. 6.7 Summary The prediction accuracy of a published model for t he radiosensitivity of tumor cell lines was found to decrease when adding more c ell lines. Biological indicators such Ras mutational status, p53 mutational status and th e tissue of origin were included in the multivariable linear regression model in an attempt to better model the underlying biology . The additive and interaction models c reated by including these variables at the probeset level were shown to provide a better f it for prediction of radiosensitivity than the gene expression model alone. Since the inclusio n of additional variables is expected to enhance model fit, the effect of the biological indicators was compared with the effect of randomly generated variables for model fit. It w as shown that the biological indicators could create more meaningful linear models than ran dom variables.
108 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK 7.1 Conclusions Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in th e United States. Gene expression microarrays are used to find reliable bi omarkers of tumor for cancer diagnostics, treatment planning and patient managem ent with an aim of eventually reducing fatality due to the disease. Some of the fundamental methodological issues with successfully extracting reliable biomarkers of cancer prognosis were descri bed using a colorectal cancer gene expression dataset as a case study. Classifier mode ls that perform well on other datasets, e.g. identifying survival rates of lung cancer pati ents, performed poorly in predicting survival for the colorectal cancer dataset. Classif ier performance was shown to be influenced by the intrinsic complexity of the datas et. Three measures of complexity were proposed to obtain a relative measure of the expect ed predictive accuracy for the classifier models. A specific measure of complexity (f) was shown to correlate very closely (R2=0.82) with expected classifier performance. The me asure indicated that the survival dataset for colorectal cancer was complex, and further work was necessary to extract reliable prognostic signatures. Data reduction using quantization methods was prop osed as the first step in reducing the complexity of the colorectal cancer da taset. Since typical microarray gene expression datasets consist of very high resolution data, it was hypothesized that limiting
109 the numerical resolution of the data could yield si mpler datasets and consequently, better predictive accuracy for classifier models. Three me thods of quantization were proposed to limit the data resolution in different ways. Whi le each method was shown to improve the predictive accuracy of the classifier models, t he noise removal method was shown to maximize classifier performance. Predictive accurac y on the colorectal cancer dataset was shown to increase from 56% to 68% and the same technique was shown to enhance classifier performance from 67% to 90% accuracy on a lung adenocarcinoma dataset. Dimensionality reduction was proposed as the secon d step in addressing the complexity of the heterogeneous data. A random subs pace based technique using costsensitive analysis was proposed as a multivariable feature selection method. Multiple genes are known to be active in molecular pathways, and multiple pathways can be active in a heterogeneous tumor. The random subspace techn ique was designed to address this underlying biology of the tumor. Extraction of mult iple sets of genes that were correlated with survival in a multivariate manner was shown to produce more accurate classifiers (68% accuracy) than a univariate feature selection method (56% accuracy). As mentioned earlier, the goal of these gene expre ssion microarray studies is to identify reliable biomarkers of cancer to aid in pa tient management. Biological indicators, for example the mutational status of ce rtain genes such as Ras or p53, have been routinely used as clinical factors for patient selection and treatment management. A method was proposed to integrate these clinical ind icators in developing a gene expression signature for predicting radiation sensi tivity of tumor cells. While inclusion of biological indicators can be expected to provide me aningful information, it can also lead to over fitting of the model to the training data. Experiments using random variables were
110 used to demonstrate that inclusion of Ras mutationa l status, p53 mutational status and the tissue of origin as biological indicators in a gene expression model enhanced the correlation of the model to the underlying biology without over fitting to the data. 7.2 Future Work Chapter 3 demonstrated that gene expression datase ts may be intrinsically complex, and classifier models may fail on such dat asets due to several reasons such as statistical over-fitting, high dimensionality or hi gh resolution of the data. The measure of complexity proposed here can be used to investigate the expected classifier performance when working with models such as those described in Chapter 3. However if a different classifier model is used for analysis, the specific mathematical basis of the classification must be used to design a more applicable measure of complexity. The methodology proposed at the end of Chapter 3 may be used to dev elop newer measures. Three methods of quantization reduced data complex ity and enhanced classifier accuracies in the colorectal and lung adenocarcinom a datasets. These datasets contained different ranges of numerical information. The colo rectal data was represented in a log-2 format and a range of 0.0-15.0 and the lung dataset had a range of 0.0-6000.0. A discussion of the methods indicated that the parame ter selection for the quantization methods is dependent on the numerical information a nd spread of values. Further work can be done in enhancing these methods to work with datasets that have sparser ranges than the datasets used in the chapter. The random subspace technique was designed to bett er model the underlying biology and functioning of genes in molecular pathw ays. The technique was described
111 using decision trees that inherently select a set o f important genes from within a subspace of the dataset. Other selection methods may be inve stigated in the same random subspace setup, such as the Cox proportional hazards model o r the multiple linear regression model to select genes from a random projection of the dat a. These multiple subsets of genes may then be used as an input to the multivariable model s to generate predictive signatures. A method was described to integrate biological ind icators into gene expression models to enhance the modeling of the underlying bi ology. Three indicators were used in modeling radiation sensitivity of tumor cells. The experiments conducted to test for statistical over-fitting of the data indicated that the biological indicators provided significant information for modeling radiation sens itivity. Other indicators may be tested in the same framework to include more biological in formation into gene expression models thereby creating more powerful predictors fo r clinical use.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vidya Kamath graduated at top of her class with a B .E. in Medical Electronics from Bangalore University in 1999. She worked at D ornier India Medical Systems, Hyderabad for 1.5 years and GE Global Research Cent er, Bangalore for 2.5 years. In her short professional career, she authored five techni cal papers and was granted two patents in the field of medical image analysis. Vidya started her graduate work in Biomedical Engi neering at USF in Fall of 2004 and has been working towards a doctorate after graduating with a masters degree in Fall 2005. As a graduate student she has authored e ight technical publications including five peer reviewed papers. She has won IEEE studen t travel awards and presented her work at various conferences. She was the president of the student chapter of Biomedical Engineering Society at USF (2006-2007). She is a me mber of the Tau-Beta-Pi honor society and a student member of IEEE.