Pre-Clinical Drug Prioritization via Prognosis-Guided Genetic Interaction Networks

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Pre-Clinical Drug Prioritization via Prognosis-Guided Genetic Interaction Networks

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Title: Pre-Clinical Drug Prioritization via Prognosis-Guided Genetic Interaction Networks
Author: Xiong, Jianghui; Liu, Juan; Rayner, Simon; Li, Yinghui; Chen, Shanguang; Tian, Ze

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Citation: Xiong, Jianghui, Juan Liu, Simon Rayner, Ze Tian, Yinghui Li, and Shanguang Chen. 2010. Pre-Clinical Drug Prioritization via Prognosis-Guided Genetic Interaction Networks. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13937.
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Abstract: The high rates of failure in oncology drug clinical trials highlight the problems of using pre-clinical data to predict the clinical effects of drugs. Patient population heterogeneity and unpredictable physiology complicate pre-clinical cancer modeling efforts. We hypothesize that gene networks associated with cancer outcome in heterogeneous patient populations could serve as a reference for identifying drug effects. Here we propose a novel in vivo genetic interaction which we call ‘synergistic outcome determination’ (SOD), a concept similar to ‘Synthetic Lethality’. SOD is defined as the synergy of a gene pair with respect to cancer patients' outcome, whose correlation with outcome is due to cooperative, rather than independent, contributions of genes. The method combines microarray gene expression data with cancer prognostic information to identify synergistic gene-gene interactions that are then used to construct interaction networks based on gene modules (a group of genes which share similar function). In this way, we identified a cluster of important epigenetically regulated gene modules. By projecting drug sensitivity-associated genes on to the cancer-specific inter-module network, we defined a perturbation index for each drug based upon its characteristic perturbation pattern on the inter-module network. Finally, by calculating this index for compounds in the NCI Standard Agent Database, we significantly discriminated successful drugs from a broad set of test compounds, and further revealed the mechanisms of drug combinations. Thus, prognosis-guided synergistic gene-gene interaction networks could serve as an efficient in silico tool for pre-clinical drug prioritization and rational design of combinatorial therapies.
Published Version: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013937
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