Data Perturbation Independent Diagnosis and Validation of Breast Cancer Subtypes Using Clustering and Patterns
Dalgin, Gul S.
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Citation (published version)Alexe, G., G.S. Dalgin, R. Ramaswamy, C. DeLisi, G. Bhanot. "Data Perturbation Independent Diagnosis and Validation of Breast Cancer Subtypes Using Clustering and Patterns" Cancer Informatics 2:243-274. (2007)
Molecular stratification of disease based on expression levels of sets of genes can help guide therapeutic decisions if such classifications can be shown to be stable against variations in sample source and data perturbation. Classifications inferred from one set of samples in one lab should be able to consistently stratify a different set of samples in another lab. We present a method for assessing such stability and apply it to the breast cancer (BCA) datasets of Sorlie et al. 2003 and Ma et al. 2003. We find that within the now commonly accepted BCA categories identified by Sorlie et al. Luminal A and Basal are robust, but Luminal B and ERBB2+ are not. In particular, 36% of the samples identified as Luminal B and 55% identified as ERBB2+ cannot be assigned an accurate category because the classification is sensitive to data perturbation. We identify a "core cluster" of samples for each category, and from these we determine "patterns" of gene expression that distinguish the core clusters from each other. We find that the best markers for Luminal A and Basal are (ESR1, LIV1, GATA-3) and (CCNE1, LAD1, KRT5), respectively. Pathways enriched in the patterns regulate apoptosis, tissue remodeling and the immune response. We use a different dataset (Ma et al. 2003) to test the accuracy with which samples can be allocated to the four disease subtypes. We find, as expected, that the classification of samples identified as Luminal A and Basal is robust but classification into the other two subtypes is not.