Overlapping Group Screening for Detection of Gene-environment Interactions with Application to TCGA High-dimensional Survival Genomic Data

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1283374/v1


Background: In the context of biomedical and epidemiological research, gene-environment (G-E) interaction is of great significance to the etiology and progression of many complex diseases. In high-dimensional genetic data, two general models, marginal and joint models, are proposed to identify important interaction factors. Most existing approaches for identifying G-E interactions are limited owing to the lack of robustness to outliers/contamination in response and predictor data. In particular, right-censored survival outcomes make the associated feature screening even challenging. In this article, we utilize the overlapping group screening (OGS) approach to select important G-E interactions related to clinical survival outcomes by incorporating the gene pathway information under a joint modeling framework.

Results: Simulation studies under various scenarios are carried out to compare the performances of our proposed method with some commonly used methods. In the real data applications, we use our proposed method to identify G-E interactions related to the clinical survival outcomes of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, esophageal carcinoma, and lung adenocarcinoma in The Cancer Genome Atlas clinical survival genetic data, and further establish corresponding survival prediction models. Both simulation and real data studies show that our method performs well and outperforms existing methods in the G-E interaction selection, effect estimation, and survival prediction accuracy.

Conclusions: The OGS approach is useful for selecting important environmental factors, genes and G-E interactions in the ultra-high dimensional feature space. The prediction ability of OGS with the Lasso penalty is better than existing methods. The same idea of the OGS approach can apply to other outcome models, such as the proportional odds survival time model, the logistic regression model for binary outcomes, and the multinomial logistic regression model for multi-class outcomes. 

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