BACKGROUND. The effect of gene expression data on diagnosis remains limited. Here, we show how diagnosis and classification of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) can be achieved from a single blood sample using a combination of transcriptomics and random forest analysis. METHODS. Prepubertal treatment-naive children with GHD (n = 98) were enrolled from the PREDICT study, and controls (n = 26) were acquired from online data sets. Whole blood gene expression was correlated with peak growth hormone (GH) using rank regression and a random forest algorithm tested for prediction of the presence of GHD and in classification of GHD as severe (peak GH <4 μg/l) and nonsevere (peak ≥4 μg/l). Performance was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC-ROC). RESULTS. Rank regression identified 347 probe sets in which gene expression correlated with peak GH concentrations (r = ± 0.28, P < 0.01). These 347 probe sets yielded an AUC-ROC of 0.95 for prediction of GHD status versus controls and an AUC-ROC of 0.93 for prediction of GHD severity. CONCLUSION. This study demonstrates highly accurate diagnosis and disease classification for GHD using a combination of transcriptomics and random forest analysis. TRIAL REGISTRATION. NCT00256126 and NCT00699855. FUNDING. Merck and the National Institute for Health Research (CL-2012-06-005).
Philip G. Murray, Adam Stevens, Chiara De Leonibus, Ekaterina Koledova, Pierre Chatelain, Peter E. Clayton
Baseline auxological and biochemical parameters in groups of GHD children identified by supervised principal component analysis