Decision fusion of circulating markers for breast cancer detection in premenopausal women
Current mammographic screeningfor breast cancer is less effective for younger women. To complement mammography for premenopausal women, we investigated the feasibility screening test using 98 blood serum proteins. Because the data set was very noisy and contained only weak features, we used a classifier designed for noisy data: decision fusion. Decision fusion outperformed both a support vector machine (SVM) and linear regression with forward stepwise feature selection on all three two-class classification tasks: normal tissue vs. cancer, normal tissue vs. benign lesions, and benign lesions vs. cancer. Decision fusion detected cancer moderately well (AUC=0.84 on normal vs. cancer), demonstrating promise as a screening tool. Decision fusion also detected benign lesions similarly well (AUC=0.83 on normal vs. benign lesions) and was the only classifier to achieve any success in separating benign from malignant lesions (AUC=0.64 on benign vs. cancer). The classification results suggest that the assayed proteins are more indicative of a secondary effect, such as immune response, rather than specific for breast cancer. In conclusion, the decision fusion classifier demonstrated some promise in detecting breast lesions and outperformed other classifiers, especially for the very noisy classification problem of distinguishing benign from malignant lesions. ©2007 IEEE.