A GMM-IG framework for selecting genes as expression panel biomarkers

M. Wang, J. Y. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The limitation of small sample size of functional genomics experiments has made it necessary to integrate DNA microarray experimental data from different sources. However, experimentation noises and biases of different microarray platforms have made integrated data analysis challenging. In this work, we propose an integrative computational framework to identify candidate biomarker genes from publicly available functional genomics studies. Methods: We developed a new framework, Gaussian Mixture Modeling-Coupled Information Gain (GMM-IG). In this framework, we first apply a two-component Gaussian mixture model (GMM) to estimate the conditional probability distributions of gene expression data between two different types of samples, for example, normal versus cancer. An expectation-maximization algorithm is then used to estimate the maximum likelihood parameters of a mixture of two Gaussian models in the feature space and determine the underlying expression levels of genes. Gene expression results from different studies are discretized, based on GMM estimations and then unified. Significantly differentially-expressed genes are filtered and assessed with information gain (IG) measures. Results: DNA microarray experimental data for lung cancers from three different prior studies was processed using the new GMM-IG method. Target gene markers from a gene expression panel were selected and compared with several conventional computational biomarker data analysis methods. GMM-IG showed consistently high accuracy for several classification assessments. A high reproducibility of gene selection results was also determined from statistical validations. Our study shows that the GMM-IG framework can overcome poor reliability issues from single-study DNA microarray experiment while maintaining high accuracies by combining true signals from multiple studies. Conclusions: We present a conceptually simple framework that enables reliable integration of true differential gene expression signals from multiple microarray experiments. This novel computational method has been shown to generate interesting biomarker panels for lung cancer studies. It is promising as a general strategy for future panel biomarker development, especially for applications that requires integrating experimental results generated from different research centers or with different technology platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Data integration
  • Gaussian mixture model
  • Gene selection
  • Information gain
  • Lung cancer
  • Microarray data

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