OPEN Scientific reports | 19 Jul 2016
H Chen, W Chen, C Liu, L Zhang, J Su and X Zhou
Biomedical big data, as a whole, covers numerous features, while each dataset specifically delineates part of them. “Full feature spectrum” knowledge discovery across heterogeneous data sources remains a major challenge. We developed a method called bootstrapping for unified feature association measurement (BUFAM) for pairwise association analysis, and relational dependency network (RDN) modeling for global module detection on features across breast cancer cohorts. Discovered knowledge was cross-validated using data from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s electronic medical records and annotated with BioCarta signaling signatures. The clinical potential of the discovered modules was exhibited by stratifying patients for drug responses. A series of discovered associations provided new insights into breast cancer, such as the effects of patient’s cultural background on preferences for surgical procedure. We also discovered two groups of highly associated features, the HER2 and the ER modules, each of which described how phenotypes were associated with molecular signatures, diagnostic features, and clinical decisions. The discovered “ER module”, which was dominated by cancer immunity, was used as an example for patient stratification and prediction of drug responses to tamoxifen and chemotherapy. BUFAM-derived RDN modeling demonstrated unique ability to discover clinically meaningful and actionable knowledge across highly heterogeneous biomedical big data sets.
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