CoCoScore: context-aware co-occurrence scoring for text mining applications using distant supervision

Bioinformatics. 2020 Jan 1;36(1):264-271. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btz490.


Motivation: Information extraction by mining the scientific literature is key to uncovering relations between biomedical entities. Most existing approaches based on natural language processing extract relations from single sentence-level co-mentions, ignoring co-occurrence statistics over the whole corpus. Existing approaches counting entity co-occurrences ignore the textual context of each co-occurrence.

Results: We propose a novel corpus-wide co-occurrence scoring approach to relation extraction that takes the textual context of each co-mention into account. Our method, called CoCoScore, scores the certainty of stating an association for each sentence that co-mentions two entities. CoCoScore is trained using distant supervision based on a gold-standard set of associations between entities of interest. Instead of requiring a manually annotated training corpus, co-mentions are labeled as positives/negatives according to their presence/absence in the gold standard. We show that CoCoScore outperforms previous approaches in identifying human disease-gene and tissue-gene associations as well as in identifying physical and functional protein-protein associations in different species. CoCoScore is a versatile text mining tool to uncover pairwise associations via co-occurrence mining, within and beyond biomedical applications.

Availability and implementation: CoCoScore is available at:

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology* / methods
  • Data Mining*
  • Humans
  • Natural Language Processing*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Publications*


  • Proteins