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Accurate detection of benign and malignant renal tumor subtypes with MethylBoostER: An epigenetic marker-driven learning framework.

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Current gold standard diagnostic strategies are unable to accurately differentiate malignant from benign small renal masses preoperatively; consequently, 20% of patients undergo unnecessary surgery. Devising a more confident presurgical diagnosis is key to improving treatment decision-making. We therefore developed MethylBoostER, a machine learning model leveraging DNA methylation data from 1228 tissue samples, to classify pathological subtypes of renal tumors (benign oncocytoma, clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe RCC) and normal kidney. The prediction accuracy in the testing set was 0.960, with class-wise ROC AUCs >0.988 for all classes. External validation was performed on >500 samples from four independent datasets, achieving AUCs >0.89 for all classes and average accuracies of 0.824, 0.703, 0.875, and 0.894 for the four datasets. Furthermore, consistent classification of multiregion samples (N = 185) from the same patient demonstrates that methylation heterogeneity does not limit model applicability. Following further clinical studies, MethylBoostER could facilitate a more confident presurgical diagnosis to guide treatment decision-making in the future.



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Sci Adv

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American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Cancer Research UK (S_3736)
Cancer Research UK (A25117)
National Institute for Health Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
Cancer Research UK Clinical Doctoral Fellowship. (S.H.R.) UK Medical Research Council doctoral training award. (I.N) UK Medical Research Council funding (MC UU 12022/10) (S.A.S, J.H) Isaac Newton Trust/Wellcome Trust ISSF/University of Cambridge grant (S.A.S, J.H) CRUK Fellowship award (A26718) (C.E.M.) The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre [C9685/A25177] and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC- 1215-20014). (G.D.S., A.Y.W) The Human Research Tissue Bank at Addenbrooke’s Hospital is supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.