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Jan 2019 Frontiers in genetics

Paclitaxel Response Can Be Predicted With Interpretable Multi-Variate Classifiers Exploiting DNA-Methylation and miRNA Data.


Bomane A, Gonçalves A, Ballester PJ


To address the problem of resistance to paclitaxel treatment, we have investigated to which extent is possible to predict Breast Cancer (BC) patient response to this drug. We carried out a large-scale tumor-based prediction analysis using data from the US National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Commons. These data sets comprise the responses of BC patients to paclitaxel along with six molecular profiles of their tumors. We assessed 10 Machine Learning (ML) algorithms on each of these profiles and evaluated the resulting 60 classifiers on the same BC patients. DNA methylation and miRNA profiles were the most informative overall. In combination with these two profiles, ML algorithms selecting the smallest subset of molecular features generated the most predictive classifiers: a complexity-optimized XGBoost classifier based on CpG island methylation extracted a subset of molecular factors relevant to predict paclitaxel response (AUC = 0.74). A CpG site methylation-based Decision Tree (DT) combining only 2 of the 22,941 considered CpG sites (AUC = 0.89) and a miRNA expression-based DT employing just 4 of the 337 analyzed mature miRNAs (AUC = 0.72) reveal the molecular types associated to paclitaxel-sensitive and resistant BC tumors. A literature review shows that features selected by these three classifiers have been individually linked to the cytotoxic-drug sensitivities and prognosis of BC patients. Our work leads to several molecular signatures, unearthed from methylome and miRNome, able to anticipate to some extent which BC tumors respond or not to paclitaxel. These results may provide insights to optimize paclitaxel-therapies in clinical practice.

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