Send to

Choose Destination
Bioinformatics. 2008 Jul 1;24(13):i277-85. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn182.

Identifying gene-disease associations using centrality on a literature mined gene-interaction network.

Author information

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



Understanding the role of genetics in diseases is one of the most important aims of the biological sciences. The completion of the Human Genome Project has led to a rapid increase in the number of publications in this area. However, the coverage of curated databases that provide information manually extracted from the literature is limited. Another challenge is that determining disease-related genes requires laborious experiments. Therefore, predicting good candidate genes before experimental analysis will save time and effort. We introduce an automatic approach based on text mining and network analysis to predict gene-disease associations. We collected an initial set of known disease-related genes and built an interaction network by automatic literature mining based on dependency parsing and support vector machines. Our hypothesis is that the central genes in this disease-specific network are likely to be related to the disease. We used the degree, eigenvector, betweenness and closeness centrality metrics to rank the genes in the network.


The proposed approach can be used to extract known and to infer unknown gene-disease associations. We evaluated the approach for prostate cancer. Eigenvector and degree centrality achieved high accuracy. A total of 95% of the top 20 genes ranked by these methods are confirmed to be related to prostate cancer. On the other hand, betweenness and closeness centrality predicted more genes whose relation to the disease is currently unknown and are candidates for experimental study.


A web-based system for browsing the disease-specific gene-interaction networks is available at:

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center