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BMC Genomics

, 17:1026

First Online: 22 December 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12864-016-3320-z

Cite this article as: Moon, M. & Nakai, K. BMC Genomics 2016 17Suppl 13: 1026. doi:10.1186-s12864-016-3320-z


BackgroundLately, biomarker discovery has become one of the most significant research issues in the biomedical field. Owing to the presence of high-throughput technologies, genomic data, such as microarray data and RNA-seq, have become widely available. Many kinds of feature selection techniques have been applied to retrieve significant biomarkers from these kinds of data. However, they tend to be noisy with high-dimensional features and consist of a small number of samples; thus, conventional feature selection approaches might be problematic in terms of reproducibility.

ResultsIn this article, we propose a stable feature selection method for high-dimensional datasets. We apply an ensemble L1-norm support vector machine to efficiently reduce irrelevant features, considering the stability of features. We define the stability score for each feature by aggregating the ensemble results, and utilize backward feature elimination on a purified feature set based on this score; therefore, it is possible to acquire an optimal set of features for performance without the need to set a specific threshold. The proposed methodology is evaluated by classifying the binary stage of renal clear cell carcinoma with RNA-seq data.

ConclusionA comparison with established algorithms, i.e., a fast correlation-based filter, random forest, and an ensemble version of an L2-norm support vector machine-based recursive feature elimination, enabled us to prove the superior performance of our method in terms of classification as well as stability in general. It is also shown that the proposed approach performs moderately on high-dimensional datasets consisting of a very large number of features and a smaller number of samples. The proposed approach is expected to be applicable to many other researches aimed at biomarker discovery.

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Author: Myungjin Moon - Kenta Nakai


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