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Cancer Inform. 2016 May 10;15:81-9. doi: 10.4137/CIN.S38590. eCollection 2016.

Selecting Reliable mRNA Expression Measurements Across Platforms Improves Downstream Analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.
2
Department of Thoracic and Head and Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.
3
Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.
5
Department of Medical Informatics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Abstract

With increasing use of publicly available gene expression data sets, the quality of the expression data is a critical issue for downstream analysis, gene signature development, and cross-validation of data sets. Thus, identifying reliable expression measurements by leveraging multiple mRNA expression platforms is an important analytical task. In this study, we propose a statistical framework for selecting reliable measurements between platforms by modeling the correlations of mRNA expression levels using a beta-mixture model. The model-based selection provides an effective and objective way to separate good probes from probes with low quality, thereby improving the efficiency and accuracy of the analysis. The proposed method can be used to compare two microarray technologies or microarray and RNA sequencing measurements. We tested the approach in two matched profiling data sets, using microarray gene expression measurements from the same samples profiled on both Affymetrix and Illumina platforms. We also applied the algorithm to mRNA expression data to compare Affymetrix microarray data with RNA sequencing measurements. The algorithm successfully identified probes/genes with reliable measurements. Removing the unreliable measurements resulted in significant improvements for gene signature development and functional annotations.

KEYWORDS:

RNA sequence; beta-mixture model; correlation coefficients; cross-validation; gene expression; probe selection

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