Gastric cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, but analysis of its molecular and clinical characteristics has been complicated by histological and aetiological heterogeneity. Here we describe a comprehensive molecular evaluation of 295 primary gastric adenocarcinomas as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We propose a molecular classification dividing gastric cancer into four subtypes: tumours positive for Epstein–Barr virus, which display recurrent PIK3CA mutations, extreme DNA hypermethylation, and amplification of JAK2, CD274 (also known as PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (also knownasPD-L2); microsatellite unstable tumours, which show elevated mutation rates, including mutations of genes encoding targetable oncogenic signalling proteins; genomically stable tumours, which are enriched for the diffuse histological variant and mutations of RHOA or fusions involving RHO-family GTPase-activating proteins; and tumours with chromosomal instability, which show marked aneuploidy and focal amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases. Identification of these subtypes provides a roadmap for patient stratification and trials of targeted therapies.
Endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC) is the most common form of endometrial carcinoma. The heterogeneous clinical course of EEC is an obstacle to individualized patient care.
We performed an integrated analysis on the multiple-dimensional data types including whole-exome and RNA sequencing, RPPA profiling, and clinical data from 271 EEC cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to identify molecular fingerprints that may account for this clinical heterogeneity. Significance analysis of microarray was used to identify marker genes of each subtype that were subject to pathway analysis. Association of molecular subtypes with clinical features and mutation data was analyzed with the Mann Whitney, Chi-square, Fisher’s exact, and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Survival analysis was evaluated with log-rank test. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Four transcriptome subtypes with distinct clinicopathologic characteristics and mutation spectra were identified from the TCGA dataset and validated in an independent sample cohort of 184 EEC cases. Cluster II consisted of younger, obese patients with low-grade EEC but diminished survival. CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations were present in 87.0% (47/54) of Cluster II (P < .001) that exhibited a low overall mutation rate; this was statistically significantly associated with Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation (P < .001). High expression levels of CTNNB1 (P = .001), MYC (P = .01), and CCND1 (P = .01) were associated with poorer overall survival in low-grade EEC tumors.
CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations are likely a driver that characterize an aggressive subset of low-grade and low-stage EEC occurring in younger women.
Ovarian carcinoma is the most lethal gynecological malignancy. Better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of this disease and effective targeted therapies are needed to improve patient outcomes. MicroRNAs play important roles in cancer progression and have the potential for use as either therapeutic agents or targets. Studies in other cancers have suggested that miR-506 has antitumor activity, but its function has yet to be elucidated. We found that deregulation of miR-506 in ovarian carcinoma promotes an aggressive phenotype. Ectopic overexpression of miR-506 in ovarian cancer cells was sufficient to inhibit proliferation and to promote senescence. We also demonstrated that CDK4 and CDK6 are direct targets of miR-506, and that miR-506 can inhibit CDK4/6-FOXM1 signaling, which is activated in the majority of serous ovarian carcinomas. This newly recognized miR-506/CDK4/6-FOXM1 axis provides further insight into the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma and identifies a potential novel therapeutic agent.
miR-506; ovarian carcinoma; proliferation; senescence; FOXM1
Epigenetic alterations, particularly in DNA methylation, are ubiquitous in cancer, yet the molecular origins and the consequences of these alterations are poorly understood. The DNA binding protein CTCF regulates a diverse array of epigenetic processes and is frequently altered by hemizygous deletion or mutation in human cancer. To date, a causal role for CTCF in cancer has not been established. Here we show that Ctcf hemizygous knockout mice are markedly susceptible to spontaneous, radiation, and chemically induced cancer in a broad range of tissues. Ctcf+/− tumors are characterized by increased aggressiveness including invasion, metastatic dissemination, and mixed epithelial/mesenchymal differentiation. Molecular analysis of Ctcf+/− tumors indicates that Ctcf is haploinsufficient for tumor suppression. Tissues with hemizygous loss of CTCF exhibit increased variability in CpG methylation genome-wide. These findings establish CTCF as a prominent tumor suppressor gene and point to CTCF mediated epigenetic stability as a major barrier to neoplastic progression.
The identification of DNA copy numbers from short-read sequencing data remains a challenge for both technical and algorithmic reasons. The raw data for these analyses are measured in tens to hundreds of gigabytes per genome; transmitting, storing, and analyzing such large files is cumbersome, particularly for methods that analyze several samples simultaneously. We developed a very efficient representation of depth of coverage (150–1000× compression) that enables such analyses. Current methods for analyzing variants in whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data frequently miss copy number variants (CNVs), particularly hemizygous deletions in the 1–100 kb range. To fill this gap, we developed a method to identify CNVs in individual genomes, based on comparison to joint profiles pre-computed from a large set of genomes. We analyzed depth of coverage in over 6000 high quality (>40×) genomes. The depth of coverage has strong sequence-specific fluctuations only partially explained by global parameters like %GC. To account for these fluctuations, we constructed multi-genome profiles representing the observed or inferred diploid depth of coverage at each position along the genome. These Reference Coverage Profiles (RCPs) take into account the diverse technologies and pipeline versions used. Normalization of the scaled coverage to the RCP followed by hidden Markov model (HMM) segmentation enables efficient detection of CNVs and large deletions in individual genomes. Use of pre-computed multi-genome coverage profiles improves our ability to analyze each individual genome. We make available RCPs and tools for performing these analyses on personal genomes. We expect the increased sensitivity and specificity for individual genome analysis to be critical for achieving clinical-grade genome interpretation.
whole-genome sequencing; structural variation; depth of coverage; signal processing; clinical genomics
Metastasis is the main cause of cancer mortality. One of the initiating events of cancer metastasis of epithelial tumors is epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), during which cells dedifferentiate from a relatively rigid cell structure/morphology to a flexible and changeable structure/morphology often associated with mesenchymal cells. The presence of EMT in human epithelial tumors is reflected by the increased expression of genes and levels of proteins that are preferentially present in mesenchymal cells. The combined presence of these genes forms the basis of mesenchymal gene signatures, which are the foundation for classifying a mesenchymal subtype of tumors. Indeed, tumor classification schemes that use clustering analysis of large genomic characterizations, like The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), have defined mesenchymal subtype in a number of cancer types, such as high-grade serous ovarian cancer and glioblastoma. However, recent analyses have shown that gene expression-based classifications of mesenchymal subtypes often do not associate with poor survival. This “paradox” can be ameliorated using integrated analysis that combines multiple data types. We recently found that integrating mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) data revealed an integrated mesenchymal subtype that is consistently associated with poor survival in multiple cohorts of patients with serous ovarian cancer. This network consists of 8 major miRNAs and 214 mRNAs. Among the 8 miRNAs, 4 are known to be regulators of EMT. This review provides a summary of these 8 miRNAs, which were associated with the integrated mesenchymal subtype of serous ovarian cancer.
MicroRNA (miRNA); epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); cancer; ovary; miR-506; miR-101
Genomic information is encoded on a wide range of distance scales, ranging from tens of base pairs to megabases. We developed a multiscale framework to analyze and visualize the information content of genomic signals. Different types of signals, such as GC content or DNA methylation, are characterized by distinct patterns of signal enrichment or depletion across scales spanning several orders of magnitude. These patterns are associated with a variety of genomic annotations, including genes, nuclear lamina associated domains, and repeat elements. By integrating the information across all scales, as compared to using any single scale, we demonstrate improved prediction of gene expression from Polymerase II chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) measurements and we observed that gene expression differences in colorectal cancer are not most strongly related to gene body methylation, but rather to methylation patterns that extend beyond the single-gene scale.
Thousands of unique mutations in transcription factors (TFs) arise in cancers, and the functional and biological roles of relatively few of these have been characterized. Here, we used structure-based methods developed specifically for DNA-binding proteins to systematically predict the consequences of mutations in several TFs that are frequently mutated in cancers. The explicit consideration of protein–DNA interactions was crucial to explain the roles and prevalence of mutations in TP53 and RUNX1 in cancers, and resulted in a higher specificity of detection for known p53-regulated genes among genetic associations between TP53 genotypes and genome-wide expression in The Cancer Genome Atlas, compared to existing methods of mutation assessment. Biophysical predictions also indicated that the relative prevalence of TP53 missense mutations in cancer is proportional to their thermodynamic impacts on protein stability and DNA binding, which is consistent with the selection for the loss of p53 transcriptional function in cancers. Structure and thermodynamics-based predictions of the impacts of missense mutations that focus on specific molecular functions may be increasingly useful for the precise and large-scale inference of aberrant molecular phenotypes in cancer and other complex diseases.
We describe the landscape of somatic genomic alterations based on multi-dimensional and comprehensive characterization of more than 500 glioblastoma tumors (GBMs). We identify several novel mutated genes as well as complex rearrangements of signature receptors including EGFR and PDGFRA. TERT promoter mutations are shown to correlate with elevated mRNA expression, supporting a role in telomerase reactivation. Correlative analyses confirm that the survival advantage of the proneural subtype is conferred by the G-CIMP phenotype, and MGMT DNA methylation may be a predictive biomarker for treatment response only in classical subtype GBM. Integrative analysis of genomic and proteomic profiles challenges the notion of therapeutic inhibition of a pathway as an alternative to inhibition of the target itself. These data will facilitate the discovery of therapeutic and diagnostic target candidates, the validation of research and clinical observations and the generation of unanticipated hypotheses that can advance our molecular understanding of this lethal cancer.
Attempts to determine the clinical significance of BRCA1/2 mutations in ovarian cancer (OvCa) have produced conflicting results.
To determine the relationships between BRCA1/2 deficiency (i.e., mutation and promoter hypermethylation) and overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), chemotherapy response, and whole exome mutation rate in OvCa.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Observational study of multidimensional genomics and clinical data on 316 high-grade serous OvCa cases that were made public between 2009 and 2010 via The Cancer Genome Atlas project.
Main Outcome Measures
OS and PFS rates (primary outcomes) and chemotherapy response (secondary outcome).
BRCA2 mutations (29 cases) were associated with significantly better OS (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.33; 95% CI, 0.16–0.69, P=0.003; 5-year OS: 61% for BRCA2 mutated vs. 25% for BRCA wild-type [wt] cases) and PFS (adjusted HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.22–0.74, P=0.004; 3-year PFS: 44% for BRCA2 mutated vs. 16% for BRCA wt cases), whereas neither BRCA1 mutations (37 cases) nor BRCA1 methylation (33 cases) were associated with prognosis. Moreover, BRCA2 mutations were associated with a significantly higher primary chemotherapy sensitivity rate (100% for BRCA2 mutated vs. 82% [P=0.02] and 80% [P=0.05] for BRCA wt and BRCA1 mutated cases, respectively) and longer platinum-free duration (median platinum-free duration: 18.0 months for BRCA2 mutated vs. 11.7 [P=0.02] and 12.5 [P=0.04] months for BRCA wt and BRCA1 mutated cases, respectively). Further investigation revealed that BRCA2 mutated, but not BRCA1 mutated cases, exhibited a “mutator phenotype” by containing significantly more mutations than BRCA wt cases across the whole exome (median mutation number per sample: 84 for BRCA2 mutated vs. 52 for BRCA wt cases, false-discovery rate <0.1).
BRCA2 mutation, but not BRCA1 deficiency, is associated with improved survival, chemotherapy response, and genome instability compared with BRCA wild-type.
BRCA1; BRCA2; mutations; survival; platinum-based drug response
The distinct cell types of multicellular organisms arise due to constraints imposed by gene regulatory networks on the collective change of gene expression across the genome, creating self-stabilizing expression states, or attractors. We compiled a resource of curated human expression data comprising 166 cell types and 2,602 transcription regulating genes and developed a data driven method built around the concept of expression reversal defined at the level of gene pairs, such as those participating in toggle switch circuits. This approach allows us to organize the cell types into their ontogenetic lineage-relationships and to reflect regulatory relationships among genes that explain their ability to function as determinants of cell fate. We show that this method identifies genes belonging to regulatory circuits that control neuronal fate, pluripotency and blood cell differentiation, thus offering a novel large-scale perspective on lineage specification.
Microorganisms often form multicellular structures such as biofilms and structured colonies that can influence the organism’s virulence, drug resistance, and adherence to medical devices. Phenotypic classification of these structures has traditionally relied on qualitative scoring systems that limit detailed phenotypic comparisons between strains. Automated imaging and quantitative analysis have the potential to improve the speed and accuracy of experiments designed to study the genetic and molecular networks underlying different morphological traits. For this reason, we have developed a platform that uses automated image analysis and pattern recognition to quantify phenotypic signatures of yeast colonies. Our strategy enables quantitative analysis of individual colonies, measured at a single time point or over a series of time-lapse images, as well as the classification of distinct colony shapes based on image-derived features. Phenotypic changes in colony morphology can be expressed as changes in feature space trajectories over time, thereby enabling the visualization and quantitative analysis of morphological development. To facilitate data exploration, results are plotted dynamically through an interactive Yeast Image Analysis web application (YIMAA; http://yimaa.cs.tut.fi) that integrates the raw and processed images across all time points, allowing exploration of the image-based features and principal components associated with morphological development.
colony morphology; image analysis; software; yeast; phenotype; time-lapse
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reverse process, mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), play important roles in embryogenesis, stem cell biology, and cancer progression. EMT can be regulated by many signaling pathways and regulatory transcriptional networks. Furthermore, post-transcriptional regulatory networks regulate EMT; these networks include the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) families. Specifically, the miR-200 family, miR-101, miR-506, and several lncRNAs have been found to regulate EMT. Recent studies have illustrated that several lncRNAs are overexpressed in various cancers and that they can promote tumor metastasis by inducing EMT. MiRNA controls EMT by regulating EMT transcription factors or other EMT regulators, suggesting that lncRNAs and miRNA are novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer. Further efforts have shown that non-coding-mediated EMT regulation is closely associated with epigenetic regulation through promoter methylation (e.g., miR-200 or miR-506) and protein regulation (e.g., SET8 via miR-502). The formation of gene fusions has also been found to promote EMT in prostate cancer. In this review, we discuss the post-transcriptional regulatory network that is involved in EMT and MET and how targeting EMT and MET may provide effective therapeutics for human disease.
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA); microRNA (miRNA); Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); Mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET)
Integrated genomic analyses revealed a miRNA-regulatory network, which further defined a robust integrated mesenchymal subtype associated with poor overall survival in 459 cases of serous ovarian cancer (OvCa) from The Cancer Genome Atlas and 560 cases from independent cohorts. Eight key miRNAs, including miR-506, miR-141 and miR-200a, were predicted to regulate 89% of the targets in this network. Follow-up functional experiments illustrate that miR-506 augmented E-cadherin expression, inhibited cell migration and invasion, and prevented TGFβ-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by targeting SNAI2, a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin. In human OvCa, miR-506 expression was correlated with decreased SNAI2 and VIM, elevated E-cadherin, and beneficial prognosis. Nanoparticle delivery of miR-506 in orthotopic OvCa mouse models led to E-cadherin induction and reduced tumor growth.
Cancer can take hundreds of different forms depending on the location, cell of origin and spectrum of genomic alterations that promote oncogenesis and affect therapeutic response. Although many genomic events with direct phenotypic impact have been identified, much of the complex molecular landscape remains incompletely charted for most cancer lineages. For that reason, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network has profiled and analyzed large numbers of human tumours to discover molecular aberrations at the DNA, RNA, protein, and epigenetic levels. The resulting rich data provide a major opportunity to develop an integrated picture of commonalities, differences, and emergent themes across tumour lineages. The Pan-Cancer initiative compares the first twelve tumour types profiled by TCGA. Analysis of the molecular aberrations and their functional roles across tumour types will teach us how to extend therapies effective in one cancer type to others with a similar genomic profile.
Altered expression of oncogenic and tumor-suppressing microRNAs (miRNAs) is widely associated with tumorigenesis. However, the regulatory mechanisms underlying these alterations are poorly understood. We sought to shed light on the deregulation of miRNA biogenesis promoting the aberrant miRNA expression profiles identified in these tumors. Using sequencing technology to perform both whole-transcriptome and small RNA sequencing of glioma patient samples, we examined precursor and mature miRNAs to directly evaluate the miRNA maturation process, and interrogated expression profiles for genes involved in the major steps of miRNA biogenesis. We found that ratios of mature to precursor forms of a large number of miRNAs increased with the progression from normal brain to low-grade and then to high-grade gliomas. The expression levels of genes involved in each of the three major steps of miRNA biogenesis (nuclear processing, nucleo-cytoplasmic transport, and cytoplasmic processing) were systematically altered in glioma tissues. Survival analysis of an independent data set demonstrated that the alteration of genes involved in miRNA maturation correlates with survival in glioma patients. Direct quantification of miRNA maturation with deep sequencing demonstrated that deregulation of the miRNA biogenesis pathway is a hallmark for glioma genesis and progression.
microRNA; biogenesis; glioma
Systems biology experiments studying different topics and organisms produce thousands of data values across different types of genomic data. Further, data mining analyses are yielding ranked and heterogeneous results and association networks distributed over the entire genome. The visualization of these results is often difficult and standalone web tools allowing for custom inputs and dynamic filtering are limited.
We have developed POMO (http://pomo.cs.tut.fi), an interactive web-based application to visually explore omics data analysis results and associations in circular, network and grid views. The circular graph represents the chromosome lengths as perimeter segments, as a reference outer ring, such as cytoband for human. The inner arcs between nodes represent the uploaded network. Further, multiple annotation rings, for example depiction of gene copy number changes, can be uploaded as text files and represented as bar, histogram or heatmap rings. POMO has built-in references for human, mouse, nematode, fly, yeast, zebrafish, rice, tomato, Arabidopsis, and Escherichia coli. In addition, POMO provides custom options that allow integrated plotting of unsupported strains or closely related species associations, such as human and mouse orthologs or two yeast wild types, studied together within a single analysis. The web application also supports interactive label and weight filtering. Every iterative filtered result in POMO can be exported as image file and text file for sharing or direct future input.
The POMO web application is a unique tool for omics data analysis, which can be used to visualize and filter the genome-wide networks in the context of chromosomal locations as well as multiple network layouts. With the several illustration and filtering options the tool supports the analysis and visualization of any heterogeneous omics data analysis association results for many organisms. POMO is freely available and does not require any installation or registration.
Omics; Association; Visualization; Ortholog; Phenolog; Genome-wide; Network; Model organism
A key function of BRCA1 and BRCA2 is the participation in dsDNAbreak repair via homologous recombination. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which occur in most hereditary ovarian cancers (OCs) and approximately 10% of all OC cases, are associated with defects in homologous recombination and genomic instability, a phenotype termed ‘BRCAness’. The clinical effects of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have commonly been analyzed together; however, it is becoming increasingly apparent that these mutations do not have the same effects in OC. Recently, three major reports highlighted the unequal clinical characteristics of OCs with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. All studies demonstrated that BRCA2-mutated patients are associated with better survival and therapeutic response than BRCA1-mutated and wild-type patients with serous OC. The differing prognostic effects of the BRCA2 and BRCA1 mutations is likely due to differing roles of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in homologous recombination repair and a stronger association between the BRCA2 mutation and a hypermutator phenotype. These new findings have potentially important implications for clinical management of patients with serous OC.
BRCA mutation; drug response; homologous recombination; ovarian cancer; PARP inhibitor; survival
Scientific knowledge is grounded in a particular epistemology and, owing to the requirements of that epistemology, possesses limitations. Some limitations are intrinsic, in the sense that they depend inherently on the nature of scientific knowledge; others are contingent, depending on the present state of knowledge, including technology. Understanding limitations facilitates scientific research because one can then recognize when one is confronted by a limitation, as opposed to simply being unable to solve a problem within the existing bounds of possibility. In the hope that the role of limiting factors can be brought more clearly into focus and discussed, we consider several sources of limitation as they apply to biological knowledge: mathematical complexity, experimental constraints, validation, knowledge discovery, and human intellectual capacity.
Complexity; Gene regulatory networks; Epistemology; Experimental design; Genomics; Knowledge discovery; Modeling; Validation.
To facilitate analysis and understanding of biological systems, large-scale data are often integrated into models using a variety of mathematical and computational approaches. Such models describe the dynamics of the biological system and can be used to study the changes in the state of the system over time. For many model classes, such as discrete or continuous dynamical systems, there exist appropriate frameworks and tools for analyzing system dynamics. However, the heterogeneous information that encodes and bridges molecular and cellular dynamics, inherent to fine-grained molecular simulation models, presents significant challenges to the study of system dynamics. In this paper, we present an algorithmic information theory based approach for the analysis and interpretation of the dynamics of such executable models of biological systems. We apply a normalized compression distance (NCD) analysis to the state representations of a model that simulates the immune decision making and immune cell behavior. We show that this analysis successfully captures the essential information in the dynamics of the system, which results from a variety of events including proliferation, differentiation, or perturbations such as gene knock-outs. We demonstrate that this approach can be used for the analysis of executable models, regardless of the modeling framework, and for making experimentally quantifiable predictions.
Genomic studies are now being undertaken on thousands of samples requiring new computational tools that can rapidly analyze data to identify clinically important features. Inferring structural variations in cancer genomes from mate-paired reads is a combinatorially difficult problem. We introduce Fastbreak, a fast and scalable toolkit that enables the analysis and visualization of large amounts of data from projects such as The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Cancer genomics; Structural variation; Translocation
Transcription factor-DNA interactions, central to cellular regulation and control, are commonly described by position weight matrices (PWMs). These matrices are frequently used to predict transcription factor binding sites in regulatory regions of DNA to complement and guide further experimental investigation. The DNA sequence preferences of transcription factors, encoded in PWMs, are dictated primarily by select residues within the DNA binding domain(s) that interact directly with DNA. Therefore, the DNA binding properties of homologous transcription factors with identical DNA binding domains may be characterized by PWMs derived from different species. Accordingly, we have implemented a fully automated domain-level homology searching method for identical DNA binding sequences.
By applying the domain-level homology search to transcription factors with existing PWMs in the JASPAR and TRANSFAC databases, we were able to significantly increase coverage in terms of the total number of PWMs associated with a given species, assign PWMs to transcription factors that did not previously have any associations, and increase the number of represented species with PWMs over an order of magnitude. Additionally, using protein binding microarray (PBM) data, we have validated the domain-level method by demonstrating that transcription factor pairs with matching DNA binding domains exhibit comparable DNA binding specificity predictions to transcription factor pairs with completely identical sequences.
The increased coverage achieved herein demonstrates the potential for more thorough species-associated investigation of protein-DNA interactions using existing resources. The PWM scanning results highlight the challenging nature of transcription factors that contain multiple DNA binding domains, as well as the impact of motif discovery on the ability to predict DNA binding properties. The method is additionally suitable for identifying domain-level homology mappings to enable utilization of additional information sources in the study of transcription factors. The domain-level homology search method, resulting PWM mappings, web-based user interface, and web API are publicly available at http://dodoma.systemsbiology.netdodoma.systemsbiology.net.
Small sample sizes used in previous studies result in a lack of overlap between the reported gene signatures for prediction of chemotherapy response. Although morphologic features, especially tumor nuclear morphology, are important for cancer grading, little research has been reported on quantitatively correlating cellular morphology with chemotherapy response, especially in a large data set. In this study, we have used a large population of patients to identify molecular and morphologic signatures associated with chemotherapy response in serous ovarian carcinoma.
A gene expression model that predicts response to chemotherapy is developed and validated using a large-scale data set consisting of 493 samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and 244 samples from an Australian report. An identified 227-gene signature achieves an overall predictive accuracy of greater than 85% with a sensitivity of approximately 95% and specificity of approximately 70%. The gene signature significantly distinguishes between patients with unfavorable versus favorable prognosis, when applied to either an independent data set (P = 0.04) or an external validation set (P<0.0001). In parallel, we present the production of a tumor nuclear image profile generated from 253 sample slides by characterizing patients with nuclear features (such as size, elongation, and roundness) in incremental bins, and we identify a morphologic signature that demonstrates a strong association with chemotherapy response in serous ovarian carcinoma.
A gene signature discovered on a large data set provides robustness in accurately predicting chemotherapy response in serous ovarian carcinoma. The combination of the molecular and morphologic signatures yields a new understanding of potential mechanisms involved in drug resistance.
Traditionally molecular biology research has tended to reduce biological pathways to composite units studied as isolated parts of the cellular system. With the advent of high throughput methodologies that can capture thousands of data points, and powerful computational approaches, the reality of studying cellular processes at a systems level is upon us. As these approaches yield massive datasets, systems level analyses have drawn upon other fields such as engineering and mathematics, adapting computational and statistical approaches to decipher relationships between molecules. Guided by high quality datasets and analyses, one can begin the process of predictive modeling. The findings from such approaches are often surprising and beyond normal intuition. We discuss four classes of dynamical systems used to model genetic regulatory networks. The discussion is divided into continuous and discrete models, as well as deterministic and stochastic model classes. For each combination of these categories, a model is presented and discussed in the context of the yeast cell cycle, illustrating how different types of questions can be addressed by different model classes.