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Computational methods for recognition of cancer protein markers in saliva

Ying Sun Wei Du Lili Yang Min Dai Ziying Dou Yuxiang Wang Jining Liu Gang Zheng

*Corresponding author: Gang Zheng kenneth_zheng@vip.163.com


In recent years, many studies have supported that cancer tissues can make disease-specific changes in some salivary proteins through some mediators in the pathogenesis of systemic diseases. These salivary proteins have the potential to become cancer-specific biomarkers in the early diagnosis stage. How to effectively identify these potential markers is one of the challenging issues. In this paper, we propose novel machine learning methods for recognition cancer biomarkers in saliva by two stages. In the first stage, salivary secreted proteins are recognized which are considered as candidate biomarkers of cancers. We picked up 557 salivary secretory proteins from 20379 human proteins by public databases and published literatures. Then, we present a training set construction strategy to solve the imbalance problem in order to make the classification methods get better accuracy. From all human protein set, the proteins belonging to the same families as salivary secretory proteins are removed. After that, we use SVC-KM method to cluster the remaining proteins, and select negative samples from each cluster in proportion. Next, the features of proteins are calculated by tools. We collect 24 protein properties such as sequence, structure and physicochemical properties, a total of 1087 features. An innovative procedure based on the local samples is proposed for selecting the appropriate features, in order to further improve the performance of SVM classifier. Experimental results show that the average sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of salivary secretory protein recognition using selected 32 features in training set are 97.09%, 98.10%, 97.61%, respectively. The use of these methods can improve the accuracy of recognition by solving the problems of unbalanced sample size and uneven distribution in training set. In the second stage, we apply the best model to dig out the salivary secreted proteins from 58 reported cancer markers, and get a total of 42 proteins which are considered to be used for salivary diagnosis. We analyze the gene expression data of three types of cancer, and predict that 33 genes will appear in saliva after they are translated into proteins. This study provides an important computational tool to help biologists and researchers reduce the number of candidate proteins and the cost of research. So as to further accelerate the discovery of cancer biomarkers in saliva and promote the development of saliva diagnosis.

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