Weighted minimum feedback vertex sets and implementation in human cancer genes detection

Ruiming Li, Chun-Yu Lin, Wei Feng Guo, Tatsuya Akutsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Recently, many computational methods have been proposed to predict cancer genes. One typical kind of method is to find the differentially expressed genes between tumour and normal samples. However, there are also some genes, for example, ‘dark’ genes, that play important roles at the network level but are difficult to find by traditional differential gene expression analysis. In addition, network controllability methods, such as the minimum feedback vertex set (MFVS) method, have been used frequently in cancer gene prediction. However, the weights of vertices (or genes) are ignored in the traditional MFVS methods, leading to difficulty in finding the optimal solution because of the existence of many possible MFVSs. Results: Here, we introduce a novel method, called weighted MFVS (WMFVS), which integrates the gene differential expression value with MFVS to select the maximum-weighted MFVS from all possible MFVSs in a protein interaction network. Our experimental results show that WMFVS achieves better performance than using traditional bio-data or network-data analyses alone. Conclusion: This method balances the advantage of differential gene expression analyses and network analyses, improves the low accuracy of differential gene expression analyses and decreases the instability of pure network analyses. Furthermore, WMFVS can be easily applied to various kinds of networks, providing a useful framework for data analysis and prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Mar 2021


  • Cancer gene
  • Differential gene expression
  • Feedback vertex set


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