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MBMethPred: a computational framework for the accurate classification of childhood medulloblastoma subgroups using data integration and AI-based approaches

  • Sharif Rahmani, Edris1
  • Lawarde, Ankita1, 2
  • Lingasamy, Prakash1
  • Moreno, Sergio Vela1, 2
  • Salumets, Andres1, 2, 3
  • Modhukur, Vijayachitra1, 2
  • 1 Competence Centre on Health Technologies, Tartu , (Estonia)
  • 2 University of Tartu, Tartu , (Estonia)
  • 3 Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm , (Sweden)
Published Article
Frontiers in Genetics
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Sep 07, 2023
DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2023.1233657
  • Genetics
  • Original Research


Childhood medulloblastoma is a malignant form of brain tumor that is widely classified into four subgroups based on molecular and genetic characteristics. Accurate classification of these subgroups is crucial for appropriate treatment, monitoring plans, and targeted therapies. However, misclassification between groups 3 and 4 is common. To address this issue, an AI-based R package called MBMethPred was developed based on DNA methylation and gene expression profiles of 763 medulloblastoma samples to classify subgroups using machine learning and neural network models. The developed prediction models achieved a classification accuracy of over 96% for subgroup classification by using 399 CpGs as prediction biomarkers. We also assessed the prognostic relevance of prediction biomarkers using survival analysis. Furthermore, we identified subgroup-specific drivers of medulloblastoma using functional enrichment analysis, Shapley values, and gene network analysis. In particular, the genes involved in the nervous system development process have the potential to separate medulloblastoma subgroups with 99% accuracy. Notably, our analysis identified 16 genes that were specifically significant for subgroup classification, including EP300, CXCR4, WNT4, ZIC4, MEIS1, SLC8A1, NFASC, ASCL2, KIF5C, SYNGAP1, SEMA4F, ROR1, DPYSL4, ARTN, RTN4RL1, and TLX2. Our findings contribute to enhanced survival outcomes for patients with medulloblastoma. Continued research and validation efforts are needed to further refine and expand the utility of our approach in other cancer types, advancing personalized medicine in pediatric oncology.

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