Science Advances: Predicting and characterizing a cancer dependency map of tumors with deep learning (Aune, Chen, Rao, Houghton & Zheng Labs)

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  1. Yu-Chiao Chiu1,
  2. Siyuan Zheng1,2,
  3. Li-Ju Wang1,
  4. Brian S. Iskra1,
  5. Manjeet K. Rao1,3,
  6. Peter J. Houghton1,4,
  7. Yufei Huang5,6,* and
  8. Yidong Chen1,2,*


Genome-wide loss-of-function screens have revealed genes essential for cancer cell proliferation, called cancer dependencies. It remains challenging to link cancer dependencies to the molecular compositions of cancer cells or to unscreened cell lines and further to tumors. Here, we present DeepDEP, a deep learning model that predicts cancer dependencies using integrative genomic profiles. It uses a unique unsupervised pretraining that captures unlabeled tumor genomic representations to improve the learning of cancer dependencies. We demonstrated DeepDEP’s improvement over conventional machine learning methods and validated the performance with three independent datasets. By systematic model interpretations, we extended the current dependency maps with functional characterizations of dependencies and a proof-of-concept in silico assay of synthetic essentiality. We applied DeepDEP to pan-cancer tumor genomics and built the first pan-cancer synthetic dependency map of 8000 tumors with clinical relevance. In summary, DeepDEP is a novel tool for investigating cancer dependency with rapidly growing genomic resources.

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Article Categories: Featured news, Research Paper