An isomiR expression panel based novel breast cancer classification approach using improved mutual information

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Medical Genomics, 2018, 11
Issue Date:
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© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Gene expression-based profiling has been used to identify biomarkers for different breast cancer subtypes. However, this technique has many limitations. IsomiRs are isoforms of miRNAs that have critical roles in many biological processes and have been successfully used to distinguish various cancer types. Biomarker isomiRs for identifying different breast cancer subtypes has not been investigated. For the first time, we aim to show that isomiRs are better performing biomarkers and use them to explain molecular differences between breast cancer subtypes. Results: In this study, a novel method is proposed to identify specific isomiRs that faithfully classify breast cancer subtypes. First, as a null hypothesis method we removed the lowly expressed isomiRs from small sequencing data generated from diverse breast cancers types. Second, we developed an improved mutual information-based feature selection method to calculate the weight of each isomiR expression. The weight of isomiR measures the importance of a given isomiR in classifying breast cancer subtypes. The improved mutual information enables to apply the dataset in which the feature is continuous data and label is discrete data; whereby, the traditional mutual information cannot be applied in this dataset. Finally, the support vector machine (SVM) classifier is applied to find isomiR biomarkers for subtyping. Conclusions: Here we demonstrate that isomiRs can be used as biomarkers in the identification of different breast cancer subtypes, and in addition, they may provide new insights into the diverse molecular mechanisms of breast cancers. We have also shown that the classification of different subtypes of breast cancer based on isomiRs expression is more effective than using published gene expression profiling. The proposed method provides a better performance outcome than Fisher method and Hellinger method for discovering biomarkers to distinguish different breast cancer subtypes. This novel technique could be directly applied to identify biomarkers in other diseases.
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