Extracting genetic information from a full range of sequencing data is important for understanding diseases. We propose a novel method to effectively explore the landscape of genetic mutations and aggregate them to predict cancer type. We used multinomial logistic regression, nonsmooth non-negative matrix factorization (nsNMF), and support vector machine (SVM) to utilize the full range of sequencing data, aiming at better aggregating genetic mutations and improving their power in predicting cancer types. Specifically, we introduced a classifier to distinguish cancer types using somatic mutations obtained from whole-exome sequencing data. Mutations were identified from multiple cancers and scored using SIFT, PP2, and CADD, and grouped at the individual gene level. The nsNMF was then applied to reduce dimensionality and to obtain coefficient and basis matrices. A feature matrix was derived from the obtained matrices to train a classifier for cancer type classification with the SVM model. We have demonstrated that the classifier was able to distinguish the cancer types with reasonable accuracy. In five-fold cross-validations using mutation counts as features, the average prediction accuracy was 77.1% (SEM=0.1%), significantly outperforming baselines and outperforming models using mutation scores as features. Using the factor matrices derived from the nsNMF, we identified multiple genes and pathways that are significantly associated with each cancer type. This study presents a generic and complete pipeline to study the associations between somatic mutations and cancers. The discovered genes and pathways associated with each cancer type can lead to biological insights. The proposed method can be adapted to other studies for disease classification and pathway discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Sep 27 2018


  • Cancer
  • Classification
  • Non-negative matrix factorization
  • Pathway
  • Somatic mutation
  • Whole-exome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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