Computational Purification of Individual Tumor Gene Expression Profiles Leads to Significant Improvements in Prognostic Prediction

Genome Med. 2013 Mar 28;5(3):29. doi: 10.1186/gm433.


Tumor heterogeneity is a limiting factor in cancer treatment and in the discovery of biomarkers to personalize it. We describe a computational purification tool, ISOpure, to directly address the effects of variable normal tissue contamination in clinical tumor specimens. ISOpure uses a set of tumor expression profiles and a panel of healthy tissue expression profiles to generate a purified cancer profile for each tumor sample and an estimate of the proportion of RNA originating from cancerous cells. Applying ISOpure before identifying gene signatures leads to significant improvements in the prediction of prognosis and other clinical variables in lung and prostate cancer.