Revealing determinant factors for early breast cancer recurrence by decision tree

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Information Systems Frontiers


© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Early breast cancer recurrence is indicative of poor response to adjuvant therapy and poses threats to patients’ lives. Most existing prediction models for breast cancer recurrence are regression-based models and difficult to interpret. We apply a Decision Tree algorithm to the clinical information of a cohort of non-metastatic invasive breast cancer patients, to establish a classifier that categorizes patients based on whether they develop early recurrence and on similarities of their clinical and pathological diagnoses. The classifier predicts for whether a patient developed early disease recurrence; and is estimated to be about 70% accurate. For an independent validation cohort of 65 patients, the classifier predicts correctly for 55 patients. The classifier also groups patients based on intrinsic properties of their diseases; and for each subgroup lists the disease characteristics in a hierarchal order, according to their relevance to early relapse. Overall, it identifies pathological nodal stage, percentage of intra-tumor stroma and components of TGFβ-Smad signaling pathway as highly relevant factors for early breast cancer recurrence. Since most of the disease characteristics used by this classifier are results of standardized tests, routinely collected during breast cancer diagnosis, the classifier can easily be adopted in various research and clinical settings.

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