Integration of molecular features with clinical information for predicting outcomes for neuroblastoma patients

Yatong Han, Xiufen Ye, Chao Wang, Yusong Liu, Siyuan Zhang, Weixing Feng, Kun Huang, Jie Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Neuroblastoma is one of the most common types of pediatric cancer. In current neuroblastoma prognosis, patients can be stratified into high- and low-risk groups. Generally, more than 90% of the patients in the low-risk group will survive, while less than 50% for those with the high-risk disease will survive. Since the so-called "high-risk" patients still contain patients with mixed good and poor outcomes, more refined stratification needs to be established so that for the patients with poor outcome, they can receive prompt and individualized treatment to improve their long-term survival rate, while the patients with good outcome can avoid unnecessary over treatment. Methods: We first mined co-expressed gene modules from microarray and RNA-seq data of neuroblastoma samples using the weighted network mining algorithm lmQCM, and summarize the resulted modules into eigengenes. Then patient similarity weight matrix was constructed with module eigengenes using two different approaches. At the last step, a consensus clustering method called Molecular Regularized Consensus Patient Stratification (MRCPS) was applied to aggregate both clinical information (clinical stage and clinical risk level) and multiple eigengene data for refined patient stratification. Results: The integrative method MRCPS demonstrated superior performance to clinical staging or transcriptomic features alone for the NB cohort stratification. It successfully identified the worst prognosis group from the clinical high-risk group, with less than 40% survived in the first 50 months of diagnosis. It also identified highly differentially expressed genes between best prognosis group and worst prognosis group, which can be potential gene biomarkers for clinical testing. Conclusions: To address the need for better prognosis and facilitate personalized treatment on neuroblastoma, we modified the recently developed bioinformatics workflow MRCPS for refined patient prognosis. It integrates clinical information and molecular features such as gene co-expression for prognosis. This clustering workflow is flexible, allowing the integration of both categorical and numerical data. The results demonstrate the power of survival prognosis with this integrative analysis workflow, with superior prognostic performance to only using transcriptomic data or clinical staging/risk information alone. Reviewers: This article was reviewed by Lan Hu, Haibo Liu, Julie Zhu and Aleksandra Gruca.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalBiology Direct
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 23 2019


  • Consensus clustering
  • Gene co-expression network
  • Neuroblastoma prognosis
  • Survival time prediction
  • lmQCM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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