Comparing Bayesian‐Based Reconstruction Strategies in Topology‐Based Pathway Enrichment Analysis

Yajunzi Wang, Jing Li, Daiyun Huang, Yang Hao, Bo Li, Kai Wang, Boya Chen, Ting Li, Xin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The development of high‐throughput omics technologies has enabled the quantification of vast amounts of genes and gene products in the whole genome. Pathway enrichment analysis (PEA) provides an intuitive solution for extracting biological insights from massive amounts of data. Topology‐based pathway analysis (TPA) represents the latest generation of PEA methods, which exploit pathway topology in addition to lists of differentially expressed genes and their expression profiles. A subset of these TPA methods, such as BPA, BNrich, and PROPS, reconstruct pathway structures by training Bayesian networks (BNs) from canonical biological pathways, providing su-perior representations that explain causal relationships between genes. However, these methods have never been compared for their differences in the PEA and their different topology reconstruction strategies. In this study, we aim to compare the BN reconstruction strategies of the BPA, BNrich, PROPS, Clipper, and Ensemble methods and their PEA and performance on tumor and non‐tumor classification based on gene expression data. Our results indicate that they performed equally well in distinguishing tumor and non‐tumor samples (AUC > 0.95) yet with a varying ranking of path-ways, which can be attributed to the different BN structures resulting from the different cyclic structure removal strategies. This can be clearly seen from the reconstructed JAK‐STAT networks by different strategies. In a nutshell, BNrich, which relies on expert intervention to remove loops and cyclic structures, produces BNs that best fit the biological facts. The plausibility of the Clipper strategy can also be partially explained by intuitive biological rules and theorems. Our results may offer an informed reference for the proper method for a given data analysis task.

Original languageEnglish
Article number906
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Bayesian network
  • gene expression
  • network reconstruction
  • topology‐based pathway analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing Bayesian‐Based Reconstruction Strategies in Topology‐Based Pathway Enrichment Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this