Application of survival analysis methodology to the quantitative analysis of LC-MS proteomics data

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Journal Article
Bioinformatics, 2012, 28 (15), pp. 1998 - 2003
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Motivation: Protein abundance in quantitative proteomics is often based on observed spectral features derived from liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) or LC-MS/MS experiments. Peak intensities are largely non-normal in distribution. Furthermore, LC-MS-based proteomics data frequently have large proportions of missing peak intensities due to censoring mechanisms on low-abundance spectral features. Recognizing that the observed peak intensities detected with the LC-MS method are all positive, skewed and often left-censored, we propose using survival methodology to carry out differential expression analysis of proteins. Various standard statistical techniques including non-parametric tests such as the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney rank sum tests, and the parametric survival model and accelerated failure time-model with log-normal, log-logistic and Weibull distributions were used to detect any differentially expressed proteins. The statistical operating characteristics of each method are explored using both real and simulated datasets.Results: Survival methods generally have greater statistical power than standard differential expression methods when the proportion of missing protein level data is 5% or more. In particular, the AFT models we consider consistently achieve greater statistical power than standard testing procedures, with the discrepancy widening with increasing missingness in the proportions. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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