Motivation: Classification and regression trees have long been used for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Nevertheless, instability and variable selection bias, as well as overfitting, are well-known problems of tree-based methods. In this article, we investigate whether ensemble tree classifiers can ameliorate these difficulties, using data from two recent studies of radical prostatectomy in prostate cancer. Results: Using time to progression following prostatectomy as the relevant clinical endpoint, we found that ensemble tree classifiers robustly and reproducibly identified three subgroups of patients in the two clinical datasets: non-progressors, early progressors and late progressors. Moreover, the consensus classifications were independent predictors of time to progression compared to known clinical prognostic factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Computational Theory and Mathematics
- Computational Mathematics