DEcancer: Machine learning framework tailored to liquid biopsy based cancer detection and biomarker signature selection
Halner A., Hankey L., Liang Z., Pozzetti F., Szulc D., Mi E., Liu G., Kessler BM., Syed J., Liu PJ.
Cancer is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Over 50% of cancers are diagnosed late, rendering many treatments ineffective. Existing liquid biopsy studies demonstrate a minimally invasive and inexpensive approach for disease detection but lack parsimonious biomarker selection, exhibit poor cancer detection performance and lack appropriate validation and testing. We established a tailored machine learning pipeline, DEcancer, for liquid biopsy analysis that addresses these limitations and improved performance. In a test set from a published cohort of 1,005 patients including 8 cancer types and 812 cancer-free individuals, DEcancer increased stage 1 cancer detection sensitivity across cancer types from 48 to 90%. In addition, with a test set cohort of patients from a high dimensional proteomics dataset of 61 lung cancer patients and 80 cancer-free individuals, DEcancer's performance using a 14-43 protein panel was comparable to 1,000 original proteins. DEcancer is a promising tool which may facilitate improved cancer detection and management.