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PLoS Comput Biol. 2019 Jul 22;15(7):e1007209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007209. eCollection 2019 Jul.

Ensemble of decision tree reveals potential miRNA-disease associations.

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School of Information and Control Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, China.


In recent years, increasing associations between microRNAs (miRNAs) and human diseases have been identified. Based on accumulating biological data, many computational models for potential miRNA-disease associations inference have been developed, which saves time and expenditure on experimental studies, making great contributions to researching molecular mechanism of human diseases and developing new drugs for disease treatment. In this paper, we proposed a novel computational method named Ensemble of Decision Tree based MiRNA-Disease Association prediction (EDTMDA), which innovatively built a computational framework integrating ensemble learning and dimensionality reduction. For each miRNA-disease pair, the feature vector was extracted by calculating the statistical measures, graph theoretical measures, and matrix factorization results for the miRNA and disease, respectively. Then multiple base learnings were built to yield many decision trees (DTs) based on random selection of negative samples and miRNA/disease features. Particularly, Principal Components Analysis was applied to each base learning to reduce feature dimensionality and hence remove the noise or redundancy. Average strategy was adopted for these DTs to get final association scores between miRNAs and diseases. In model performance evaluation, EDTMDA showed AUC of 0.9309 in global leave-one-out cross validation (LOOCV) and AUC of 0.8524 in local LOOCV. Additionally, AUC of 0.9192+/-0.0009 in 5-fold cross validation proved the model's reliability and stability. Furthermore, three types of case studies for four human diseases were implemented. As a result, 94% (Esophageal Neoplasms), 86% (Kidney Neoplasms), 96% (Breast Neoplasms) and 88% (Carcinoma Hepatocellular) of top 50 predicted miRNAs were confirmed by experimental evidences in literature.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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