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Mol Genet Metab. 2001 Jul;73(3):239-47.

Feature (gene) selection in gene expression-based tumor classification.

Author information

  • 1Human Genetics Center, University of Texas--Houston Health Science Center, Houston, Texas 77225, USA. mxiong@utsph.sph.uth.tmc.edu


There is increasing interest in changing the emphasis of tumor classification from morphologic to molecular. Gene expression profiles may offer more information than morphology and provide an alternative to morphology-based tumor classification systems. Gene selection involves a search for gene subsets that are able to discriminate tumor tissue from normal tissue, and may have either clear biological interpretation or some implication in the molecular mechanism of the tumorigenesis. Gene selection is a fundamental issue in gene expression-based tumor classification. In the formation of a discriminant rule, the number of genes is large relative to the number of tissue samples. Too many genes can harm the performance of the tumor classification system and increase the cost as well. In this report, we discuss criteria and illustrate techniques for reducing the number of genes and selecting an optimal (or near optimal) subset of genes from an initial set of genes for tumor classification. The practical advantages of gene selection over other methods of reducing the dimensionality (e.g., principal components), include its simplicity, future cost savings, and higher likelihood of being adopted in a clinical setting. We analyze the expression profiles of 2000 genes in 22 normal and 40 colon tumor tissues, 5776 sequences in 14 human mammary epithelial cells and 13 breast tumors, and 6817 genes in 47 acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 25 acute myeloid leukemia samples. Through these three examples, we show that using 2 or 3 genes can achieve more than 90% accuracy of classification. This result implies that after initial investigation of tumor classification using microarrays, a small number of selected genes may be used as biomarkers for tumor classification, or may have some relevance in tumor development and serve as a potential drug target. In this report we also show that stepwise Fisher's linear discriminant function is a practicable method for gene expression-based tumor classification.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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