stam – a Bioconductor compliant R package for structured analysis of microarray data
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and Berlin Center for Genome Based Bioinformatics, Ihnestr. 73, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:211 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-211Published: 25 August 2005
Genome wide microarray studies have the potential to unveil novel disease entities. Clinically homogeneous groups of patients can have diverse gene expression profiles. The definition of novel subclasses based on gene expression is a difficult problem not addressed systematically by currently available software tools.
We present a computational tool for semi-supervised molecular disease entity detection. It automatically discovers molecular heterogeneities in phenotypically defined disease entities and suggests alternative molecular sub-entities of clinical phenotypes. This is done using both gene expression data and functional gene annotations.
We provide stam, a Bioconductor compliant software package for the statistical programming environment R. We demonstrate that our tool detects gene expression patterns, which are characteristic for only a subset of patients from an established disease entity. We call such expression patterns molecular symptoms. Furthermore, stam finds novel sub-group stratifications of patients according to the absence or presence of molecular symptoms.
Our software is easy to install and can be applied to a wide range of datasets. It provides the potential to reveal so far indistinguishable patient sub-groups of clinical relevance.