A Bayesian integrative model for genetical genomics with spatially informed variable selection

Alberto Cassese, Michele Guindani*, Marina Vannucci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We consider a Bayesian hierarchical model for the integration of gene expression levels with comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) array measurements collected on the same subjects. The approach defines a measurement error model that relates the gene expression levels to latent copy number states. In turn, the latent states are related to the observed surrogate CGH measurements via a hidden Markov model. The model further incorporates variable selection with a spatial prior based on a probit link that exploits dependencies across adjacent DNA segments. Posterior inference is carried out via Markov chain Monte Carlo stochastic search techniques. We study the performance of the model in simulations and show better results than those achieved with recently proposed alternative priors. We also show an application to data from a genomic study on lung squamous cell carcinoma, where we identify potential candidates of associations between copy number variants and the transcriptional activity of target genes. Gene ontology (GO) analyses of our findings reveal enrichments in genes that code for proteins involved in cancer. Our model also identifies a number of potential candidate biomarkers for further experimental validation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Informatics
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian hierarchical models
  • Copy number variants
  • Gene expression
  • Measurement error
  • Variable selection

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