CRlncRC: a machine learning-based method for cancer-related long noncoding RNA identification using integrated features

BMC Med Genomics. 2018 Dec 31;11(Suppl 6):120. doi: 10.1186/s12920-018-0436-9.


Background: Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are widely involved in the initiation and development of cancer. Although some computational methods have been proposed to identify cancer-related lncRNAs, there is still a demanding to improve the prediction accuracy and efficiency. In addition, the quick-update data of cancer, as well as the discovery of new mechanism, also underlay the possibility of improvement of cancer-related lncRNA prediction algorithm. In this study, we introduced CRlncRC, a novel Cancer-Related lncRNA Classifier by integrating manifold features with five machine-learning techniques.

Results: CRlncRC was built on the integration of genomic, expression, epigenetic and network, totally in four categories of features. Five learning techniques were exploited to develop the effective classification model including Random Forest (RF), Naïve bayes (NB), Support Vector Machine (SVM), Logistic Regression (LR) and K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN). Using ten-fold cross-validation, we showed that RF is the best model for classifying cancer-related lncRNAs (AUC = 0.82). The feature importance analysis indicated that epigenetic and network features play key roles in the classification. In addition, compared with other existing classifiers, CRlncRC exhibited a better performance both in sensitivity and specificity. We further applied CRlncRC to lncRNAs from the TANRIC (The Atlas of non-coding RNA in Cancer) dataset, and identified 121 cancer-related lncRNA candidates. These potential cancer-related lncRNAs showed a certain kind of cancer-related indications, and many of them could find convincing literature supports.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that CRlncRC is a powerful method for identifying cancer-related lncRNAs. Machine-learning-based integration of multiple features, especially epigenetic and network features, had a great contribution to the cancer-related lncRNA prediction. RF outperforms other learning techniques on measurement of model sensitivity and specificity. In addition, using CRlncRC method, we predicted a set of cancer-related lncRNAs, all of which displayed a strong relevance to cancer as a valuable conception for the further cancer-related lncRNA function studies.

Keywords: Cancer-related; Classification; Integrated features; LncRNA; Machine learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computational Biology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Neoplasms / classification*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Neoplasm*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Neoplasm