In silico Pathway Activation Network Decomposition Analysis (iPANDA) as a method for biomarker development

Nat Commun. 2016 Nov 16:7:13427. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13427.


Signalling pathway activation analysis is a powerful approach for extracting biologically relevant features from large-scale transcriptomic and proteomic data. However, modern pathway-based methods often fail to provide stable pathway signatures of a specific phenotype or reliable disease biomarkers. In the present study, we introduce the in silico Pathway Activation Network Decomposition Analysis (iPANDA) as a scalable robust method for biomarker identification using gene expression data. The iPANDA method combines precalculated gene coexpression data with gene importance factors based on the degree of differential gene expression and pathway topology decomposition for obtaining pathway activation scores. Using Microarray Analysis Quality Control (MAQC) data sets and pretreatment data on Taxol-based neoadjuvant breast cancer therapy from multiple sources, we demonstrate that iPANDA provides significant noise reduction in transcriptomic data and identifies highly robust sets of biologically relevant pathway signatures. We successfully apply iPANDA for stratifying breast cancer patients according to their sensitivity to neoadjuvant therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Paclitaxel