Compositional Data in Biomedical Research

Billheimer, Dean
Modern methods of compositional data analysis are not well known in biomedical research. Moreover, there appear to be few mathematical and statistical researchers working on compositional biomedical problems. Like the earth and environmental sciences, biomedicine has many problems in which the relevant scienti c information is encoded in the relative abundance of key species or categories. I introduce three problems in cancer research in which analysis of compositions plays an important role. The problems involve 1) the classi cation of serum proteomic pro les for early detection of lung cancer, 2) inference of the relative amounts of di erent tissue types in a diagnostic tumor biopsy, and 3) the subcellular localization of the BRCA1 protein, and it's role in breast cancer patient prognosis. For each of these problems I outline a partial solution. However, none of these problems is \solved". I attempt to identify areas in which additional statistical development is needed with the hope of encouraging more compositional data analysts to become involved in biomedical research ​
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