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A systems approach to refine disease taxonomy by integrating phenotypic and molecular networks

By Xuezhong Zhou, Lei Lei, Jun Liu, Arda Halu, Yingying Zhang, Bing Li, Zhili Guo, Guangming Liu, Changkai Sun, Joseph Loscalzo, Amitabh Sharma, Zhong Wang

Posted 14 Nov 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/219089 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.04.002)

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) relies on clinical features and lags behind the current understanding of the molecular specificity of disease pathobiology, necessitating approaches that incorporate growing biomedical data for classifying diseases to meet the needs of precision medicine. Our analysis revealed that the heterogeneous molecular diversity of disease chapters and the blurred boundary between disease categories in ICD should be further investigated. Here, we propose a new classification of diseases (NCD) by developing an algorithm that predicts the additional categories of a disease by integrating multiple networks consisting of disease phenotypes and their molecular profiles. With statistical validations from phenotype-genotype associations and interactome networks, we demonstrate that NCD improves disease specificity owing to its overlapping categories and polyhierarchical structure. Furthermore, NCD captures the molecular diversity of diseases and defines clearer boundaries in terms of both phenotypic similarity and molecular associations, establishing a rational strategy to reform disease taxonomy.

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