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Pathway-extended gene expression signatures integrate novel biomarkers that improve predictions of patient responses to kinase inhibitors

By Ashis J. Bagchee-Clark, Eliseos J Mucaki, Tyson Whitehead, Peter K Rogan

Posted 15 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.13.381798

Cancer chemotherapy responses have been related to multiple pharmacogenetic biomarkers, often for the same drug. This study utilizes machine learning to derive multi-gene expression signatures that predict individual patient responses to specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including erlotinib, gefitinib, sorafenib, sunitinib, lapatinib and imatinib. Support Vector Machine learning was used to train mathematical models that distinguished sensitivity from resistance to these drugs using a novel systems biology-based approach. This began with expression of genes previously implicated in specific drug responses, then expanded to evaluate genes whose products were related through biochemical pathways and interactions. Optimal pathway-extended support vector machines predicted responses in patients at accuracies of 70% (imatinib), 71% (lapatinib), 83% (sunitinib), 83% (erlotinib), 88% (sorafenib) and 91% (gefitinib). These best performing pathway-extended models demonstrated improved balance predicting both sensitive and resistant patient categories, with many of these genes having a known role in cancer etiology. Ensemble machine learning-based averaging of multiple pathway-extended models derived for an individual drug increased accuracy to >70% for erlotinib, gefitinib, lapatinib, and sorafenib. Through incorporation of novel cancer biomarkers, machine learning-based pathway-extended signatures display strong efficacy predicting both sensitive and resistant patient responses to chemotherapy. ### Competing Interest Statement Peter K. Rogan is a co-founder of CytoGnomix, which hosts a chemotherapy response calculator for prediction of response to the gene signatures described in this study. A patent application has been submitted describing the contents of this manuscript.

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