Array-based comparative genomic hybridization (arrayCGH) is a microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization technique that has been used to compare tumor genomes with normal genomes, thus providing rapid genomic assays of tumor genomes in terms of copy-number variations of those chromosomal segments that have been gained or lost. When properly interpreted, these assays are likely to shed important light on genes and mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of cancer. Specifically, chromosomal segments, deleted in one or both copies of the diploid genomes of a group of patients with cancer, point to locations of tumor-suppressor genes (TSGs) implicated in the cancer. In this study, we focused on automatic methods for reliable detection of such genes and their locations, and we devised an efficient statistical algorithm to map TSGs, using a novel multipoint statistical score function. The proposed algorithm estimates the location of TSGs by analyzing segmental deletions (hemi- or homozygous) in the genomes of patients with cancer and the spatial relation of the deleted segments to any specific genomic interval. The algorithm assigns, to an interval of consecutive probes, a multipoint score that parsimoniously captures the underlying biology. It also computes a P value for every putative TSG by using concepts from the theory of scan statistics. Furthermore, it can identify smaller sets of predictive probes that can be used as biomarkers for diagnosis and therapeutics. We validated our method using different simulated artificial data sets and one real data set, and we report encouraging results. We discuss how, with suitable modifications to the underlying statistical model, this algorithm can be applied generally to a wider class of problems (e.g., detection of oncogenes).
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