Predicting Complete Remission of Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Machine Learning Applied to Gene Expression.

Gal O, Auslander N, Fan Y, Meerzaman D.

Cancer Informatics

March 15, 2019

Machine learning (ML) is a useful tool for advancing our understanding of the patterns and significance of biomedical data. Given the growing trend on the application of ML techniques in precision medicine, here we present an ML technique which predicts the likelihood of complete remission (CR) in patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, we explored the question of whether ML algorithms designed to analyze gene-expression patterns obtained through RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) can be used to accurately predict the likelihood of CR in pediatric AML patients who have received induction therapy. We employed tests of statistical significance to determine which genes were differentially expressed in the samples derived from patients who achieved CR after 2 courses of treatment and the samples taken from patients who did not benefit. We tuned classifier hyperparameters to optimize performance and used multiple methods to guide our feature selection as well as our assessment of algorithm performance. To identify the model which performed best within the context of this study, we plotted receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Using the top 75 genes from the k-nearest neighbors algorithm (K-NN) model (K = 27) yielded the best area-under-the-curve (AUC) score that we obtained: 0.84. When we finally tested the previously unseen test data set, the top 50 genes yielded the best AUC = 0.81. Pathway enrichment analysis for these 50 genes showed that the guanosine diphosphate fucose (GDP-fucose) biosynthesis pathway is the most significant with an adjusted P value = .0092, which may suggest the vital role of N-glycosylation in AML.

Last updated: August 31, 2020