License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2020.11
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-121695
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Aukerman, Andrew ; Carrière, Mathieu ; Chen, Chao ; Gardner, Kevin ; Rabadán, Raúl ; Vanguri, Rami

Persistent Homology Based Characterization of the Breast Cancer Immune Microenvironment: A Feasibility Study

LIPIcs-SoCG-2020-11.pdf (3 MB)


Persistent homology is a common tool of topological data analysis, whose main descriptor, the persistence diagram, aims at computing and encoding the geometry and topology of given datasets. In this article, we present a novel application of persistent homology to characterize the spatial arrangement of immune and epithelial (tumor) cells within the breast cancer immune microenvironment. More specifically, quantitative and robust characterizations are built by computing persistence diagrams out of a staining technique (quantitative multiplex immunofluorescence) which allows us to obtain spatial coordinates and stain intensities on individual cells. The resulting persistence diagrams are evaluated as characteristic biomarkers of cancer subtype and prognostic biomarker of overall survival. For a cohort of approximately 700 breast cancer patients with median 8.5-year clinical follow-up, we show that these persistence diagrams outperform and complement the usual descriptors which capture spatial relationships with nearest neighbor analysis. This provides new insights and possibilities on the general problem of building (topology-based) biomarkers that are characteristic and predictive of cancer subtype, overall survival and response to therapy.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Andrew Aukerman and Mathieu Carri{\`e}re and Chao Chen and Kevin Gardner and Ra{\'u}l Rabad{\'a}n and Rami Vanguri},
  title =	{{Persistent Homology Based Characterization of the Breast Cancer Immune Microenvironment: A Feasibility Study}},
  booktitle =	{36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020)},
  pages =	{11:1--11:20},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-143-6},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2020},
  volume =	{164},
  editor =	{Sergio Cabello and Danny Z. Chen},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-121695},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2020.11},
  annote =	{Keywords: Topological data analysis, persistence diagrams}

Keywords: Topological data analysis, persistence diagrams
Collection: 36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020)
Issue Date: 2020
Date of publication: 08.06.2020

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