Pharmacogenomic knowledge representation, reasoning and genome-based clinical decision support based on OWL 2 DL ontologies

Matthias Samwald, Jose Antonio Miñarro Giménez, Richard D. Boyce, Robert R. Freimuth, Klaus Peter Adlassnig, Michel Dumontier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Every year, hundreds of thousands of patients experience treatment failure or adverse drug reactions (ADRs), many of which could be prevented by pharmacogenomic testing. However, the primary knowledge needed for clinical pharmacogenomics is currently dispersed over disparate data structures and captured in unstructured or semi-structured formalizations. This is a source of potential ambiguity and complexity, making it difficult to create reliable information technology systems for enabling clinical pharmacogenomics. Methods: We developed Web Ontology Language (OWL) ontologies and automated reasoning methodologies to meet the following goals: 1) provide a simple and concise formalism for representing pharmacogenomic knowledge, 2) finde errors and insufficient definitions in pharmacogenomic knowledge bases, 3) automatically assign alleles and phenotypes to patients, 4) match patients to clinically appropriate pharmacogenomic guidelines and clinical decision support messages and 5) facilitate the detection of inconsistencies and overlaps between pharmacogenomic treatment guidelines from different sources. We evaluated different reasoning systems and test our approach with a large collection of publicly available genetic profiles. Results: Our methodology proved to be a novel and useful choice for representing, analyzing and using pharmacogenomic data. The Genomic Clinical Decision Support (Genomic CDS) ontology represents 336 SNPs with 707 variants; 665 haplotypes related to 43 genes; 22 rules related to drug-response phenotypes; and 308 clinical decision support rules. OWL reasoning identified CDS rules with overlapping target populations but differing treatment recommendations. Only a modest number of clinical decision support rules were triggered for a collection of 943 public genetic profiles. We found significant performance differences across available OWL reasoners. Conclusions: The ontology-based framework we developed can be used to represent, organize and reason over the growing wealth of pharmacogenomic knowledge, as well as to identify errors, inconsistencies and insufficient definitions in source data sets or individual patient data. Our study highlights both advantages and potential practical issues with such an ontology-based approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Automated reasoning
  • Clinical decision support
  • Ontology
  • Personalized medicine
  • Pharmacogenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics

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