Developing prognostic systems of cancer patients by ensemble clustering

Dechang Chen*, Kai Xing, Donald Henson, Li Sheng, Arnold M. Schwartz, Xiuzhen Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Accurate prediction of survival rates of cancer patients is often key to stratify patients for prognosis and treatment. Survival prediction is often accomplished by the TNM system that involves only three factors: tumor extent, lymph node involvement, and metastasis. This prediction from the TNM has been limited, because other potential prognostic factors are not used in the system. Based on availability of large cancer datasets, it is possible to establish powerful prediction systems by using machine learning procedures and statistical methods. In this paper, we present an ensemble clustering-based approach to develop prognostic systems of cancer patients. Our method starts with grouping combinations that are formed using levels of factors recorded in the data. The dissimilarity measure between combinations is obtained through a sequence of data partitions produced by multiple use of PAM algorithm. This dissimilarity measure is then used with a hierarchical clustering method in order to find clusters of combinations. Prediction of survival is made simply by using the survival function derived from each cluster. Our approach admits multiple factors and provides a practical and useful tool in outcome prediction of cancer patients. A demonstration of use of the proposed method is given for lung cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number632786
JournalJournal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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