A Gaussian Mixture-Model Exploiting Pathway Knowledge for Dissecting Cancer Heterogeneity. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this work, we develop a systematic approach for applying pathway knowledge to a multivariate Gaussian mixture model for dissecting a heterogeneous cancer tissue. The downstream transcription factors are selected as observables from available partial pathway knowledge in such a way that the subpopulations produce some differential behavior in response to the drugs selected in the upstream. For each subpopulation, each unique (drug, observable) pair is considered as a unique dimension of a multivariate Gaussian distribution. Expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm with hill-climbing is then used to rank the most probable estimates of the mixture composition based on the log-likelihood value. A major contribution of this work is to examine the efficacy of the EM based approach in estimating the composition of experimental mixture sets from cell-by-cell measurements collected on a dynamic cell imaging platform. Towards this end, we apply the algorithm on hourly data collected for two different mixture compositions of A2058, HCT116, and SW480 cell lines for three scenarios: untreated, Lapatinib-treated, and Temsirolimus-treated. Additionally, we show how this methodology can provide a basis for comparing the killing rate of different drugs for a heterogeneous cancer tissue. This obviously has important implications for designing efficient drugs for treating heterogeneous malignant tumors.

published proceedings

  • IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform

author list (cited authors)

  • Kapoor, R., Datta, A., Sima, C., Hua, J., Lopes, R., & Bittner, M. L.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Kapoor, Rajan||Datta, Aniruddha||Sima, Chao||Hua, Jianping||Lopes, Rosana||Bittner, Michael L

publication date

  • September 2020