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JOURNAL

Cancer Informatics

A mixture copula Bayesian network model for multimodal genomic data

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Cancer Informatics 2017:16 1176935117702389

Methodology

Published on 12 Apr 2017

DOI: 10.1177/1176935117702389


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Abstract

Gaussian Bayesian networks have become a widely used framework to estimate directed associations between joint Gaussian variables, where the network structure encodes the decomposition of multivariate normal density into local terms. However, the resulting estimates can be inaccurate when the normality assumption is moderately or severely violated, making it unsuitable for dealing with recent genomic data such as the Cancer Genome Atlas data. In the present paper, we propose a mixture copula Bayesian network model which provides great flexibility in modeling non-Gaussian and multimodal data for causal inference. The parameters in mixture copula functions can be efficiently estimated by a routine expectation–maximization algorithm. A heuristic search algorithm based on Bayesian information criterion is developed to estimate the network structure, and prediction can be further improved by the best-scoring network out of multiple predictions from random initial values. Our method outperforms Gaussian Bayesian networks and regular copula Bayesian networks in terms of modeling flexibility and prediction accuracy, as demonstrated using a cell signaling data set. We apply the proposed methods to the Cancer Genome Atlas data to study the genetic and epigenetic pathways that underlie serous ovarian cancer.



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