Gsslasso Cox: A Bayesian hierarchical model for predicting survival and detecting associated genes by incorporating pathway information

Academic Article


  • Background: Group structures among genes encoded in functional relationships or biological pathways are valuable and unique features in large-scale molecular data for survival analysis. However, most of previous approaches for molecular data analysis ignore such group structures. It is desirable to develop powerful analytic methods for incorporating valuable pathway information for predicting disease survival outcomes and detecting associated genes. Results: We here propose a Bayesian hierarchical Cox survival model, called the group spike-and-slab lasso Cox (gsslasso Cox), for predicting disease survival outcomes and detecting associated genes by incorporating group structures of biological pathways. Our hierarchical model employs a novel prior on the coefficients of genes, i.e., the group spike-and-slab double-exponential distribution, to integrate group structures and to adaptively shrink the effects of genes. We have developed a fast and stable deterministic algorithm to fit the proposed models. We performed extensive simulation studies to assess the model fitting properties and the prognostic performance of the proposed method, and also applied our method to analyze three cancer data sets. Conclusions: Both the theoretical and empirical studies show that the proposed method can induce weaker shrinkage on predictors in an active pathway, thereby incorporating the biological similarity of genes within a same pathway into the hierarchical modeling. Compared with several existing methods, the proposed method can more accurately estimate gene effects and can better predict survival outcomes. For the three cancer data sets, the results show that the proposed method generates more powerful models for survival prediction and detecting associated genes. The method has been implemented in a freely available R package BhGLM at
  • Published In

  • BMC Bioinformatics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 19796730
  • Author List

  • Tang Z; Lei S; Zhang X; Yi Z; Guo B; Chen JY; Shen Y; Yi N
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 1