A jackknife-like method for classification and uncertainty assessment of multi-category tumor samples using gene expression information
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Abstract Background The use of gene expression profiling for the classification of human cancer tumors has been widely investigated. Previous studies were successful in distinguishing several tumor types in binary problems. As there are over a hundred types of cancers, and potentially even more subtypes, it is essential to develop multi-category methodologies for molecular classification for any meaningful practical application. Results A jackknife-based supervised learning method called paired-samples test algorithm (PST), coupled with a binary classification model based on linear regression, was proposed and applied to two well known and challenging datasets consisting of 14 (GCM dataset) and 9 (NC160 dataset) tumor types. The results showed that the proposed method improved the prediction accuracy of the test samples for the GCM dataset, especially when t-statistic was used in the primary feature selection. For the NCI60 dataset, the application of PST improved prediction accuracy when the numbers of used genes were relatively small (100 or 200). These improvements made the binary classification method more robust to the gene selection mechanism and the size of genes to be used. The overall prediction accuracies were competitive in comparison to the most accurate results obtained by several previous studies on the same datasets and with other methods. Furthermore, the relative confidence R(T) provided a unique insight into the sources of the uncertainty shown in the statistical classification and the potential variants within the same tumor type. Conclusion We proposed a novel bagging method for the classification and uncertainty assessment of multi-category tumor samples using gene expression information. The strengths were demonstrated in the application to two bench datasets.