Impact of missing value imputation on classification for DNA microarray gene expression data—a model-based study

Youting Sun, Ulisses Braga-Neto, Edward R Dougherty
EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics & Systems Biology 2009, 2009: 504069
Many missing-value (MV) imputation methods have been developed for microarray data, but only a few studies have investigated the relationship between MV imputation and classification accuracy. Furthermore, these studies are problematic in fundamental steps such as MV generation and classifier error estimation. In this work, we carry out a model-based study that addresses some of the issues in previous studies. Six popular imputation algorithms, two feature selection methods, and three classification rules are considered. The results suggest that it is beneficial to apply MV imputation when the noise level is high, variance is small, or gene-cluster correlation is strong, under small to moderate MV rates. In these cases, if data quality metrics are available, then it may be helpful to consider the data point with poor quality as missing and apply one of the most robust imputation algorithms to estimate the true signal based on the available high-quality data points. However, at large MV rates, we conclude that imputation methods are not recommended. Regarding the MV rate, our results indicate the presence of a peaking phenomenon: performance of imputation methods actually improves initially as the MV rate increases, but after an optimum point, performance quickly deteriorates with increasing MV rates.

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