Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Systems Biology and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: The 2010 International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BIOCOMP 2010): Systems Biology

Open Access Open Badges Research article

Integration of breast cancer gene signatures based on graph centrality

Jianxin Wang1*, Gang Chen1, Min Li12 and Yi Pan12*

Author affiliations

1 School of Information Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, 410083, China

2 Department of Computer Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA30303, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5(Suppl 3):S10  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-S3-S10

Published: 23 December 2011



Various gene-expression signatures for breast cancer are available for the prediction of clinical outcome. However due to small overlap between different signatures, it is challenging to integrate existing disjoint signatures to provide a unified insight on the association between gene expression and clinical outcome.


In this paper, we propose a method to integrate different breast cancer gene signatures by using graph centrality in a context-constrained protein interaction network (PIN). The context-constrained PIN for breast cancer is built by integrating complete PIN and various gene signatures reported in literatures. Then, we use graph centralities to quantify the importance of genes to breast cancer. Finally, we get reliable gene signatures that are consisted by the genes with high graph centrality. The genes which are well-known breast cancer genes, such as TP53 and BRCA1, are ranked extremely high in our results. Compared with previous results by functional enrichment analysis, graph centralities, especially the eigenvector centrality and subgraph centrality, based gene signatures are more tightly related to breast cancer. We validate these signatures on genome-wide microarray dataset and found strong association between the expression of these signature genes and pathologic parameters.


In summary, graph centralities provide a novel way to connect different cancer signatures and to understand the mechanism of relationship between gene expression and clinical outcome of breast cancer. Moreover, this method is not only can be used on breast cancer, but also can be used on other gene expression related diseases and drug studies.