Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Kagaris, Dimitri


The Top Scoring Pair (TSP) classifier, based on the notion of relative ranking reversals in the expressions of two marker genes, has been proposed as a simple, accurate, and easily interpretable decision rule for classification and class prediction of gene expression profiles. We introduce the AUC-based TSP classifier, which is based on the Area Under the ROC (Receiver Operating Characteristic) Curve. The AUCTSP classifier works according to the same principle as TSP but differs from the latter in that the probabilities that determine the top scoring pair are computed based on the relative rankings of the two marker genes across all subjects as opposed to for each individual subject. Although the classification is still done on an individual subject basis, the generalization that the AUC-based probabilities provide during training yield an overall better and more stable classifier. Through extensive simulation results and case studies involving classification in ovarian, leukemia, colon, and breast and prostate cancers and diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, we show the superiority of the proposed approach in terms of improving classification accuracy, avoiding overfitting and being less prone to selecting non-informative pivot genes. The proposed AUCTSP is a simple yet reliable and robust rank-based classifier for gene expression classification. While the AUCTSP works by the same principle as TSP, its ability to determine the top scoring gene pair based on the relative rankings of two marker genes across {\em all} subjects as opposed to each individual subject results in significant performance gains in classification accuracy. In addition, the proposed method tends to avoid selection of non-informative (pivot) genes as members of the top-scoring pair.\\ We have also proposed the use of the AUC test statistic in order to reduce the computational cost of the TSP in selecting the most informative pair of genes for diagnosing a specific disease. We have proven the efficacy of our proposed method through case studies in ovarian, colon, leukemia, breast and prostate cancers and diffuse large b-cell lymphoma in selecting informative genes. We have compared the selected pairs, computational cost and running time and classification performance of a subset of differentially expressed genes selected based on the AUC probability with the original TSP in the aforementioned datasets. The reduce sized TSP has proven to dramatically reduce the computational cost and time complexity of selecting the top scoring pair of genes in comparison to the original TSP in all of the case studies without degrading the performance of the classifier. Using the AUC probability, we were able to reduce the computational cost and CPU running time of the TSP by 79\% and 84\% respectively on average in the tested case studies. In addition, the use of the AUC probability prior to applying the TSP tends to avoid the selection of genes that are not expressed (``pivot'' genes) due to the imposed condition. We have demonstrated through LOOCV and 5-fold cross validation that the reduce sized TSP and TSP have shown to perform approximately the same in terms of classification accuracy for smaller threshold values. In conclusion, we suggest the use of the AUC test statistic in reducing the size of the dataset for the extensions of the TSP method, e.g. the k-TSP and TST, in order to make these methods feasible and cost effective.




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