The driver genes play a key role in the evolutionary process of cancer. Effectively identifying these driver genes is crucial to cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, due to the high heterogeneity of cancers, it remains challenging to identify the driver genes for individual patients. Although some computational methods have been proposed to tackle this problem, they seldom consider the fact that the genes functionally similar to the well-established driver genes may likely play similar roles in cancer process, which potentially promotes the driver gene identification. Thus, here we developed a novel approach of IMCDriver to promote the driver gene identification both for cohorts and individual patients.


IMCDriver first considers the well-established driver genes as prior information, and adopts the using multi-omics data (e.g. somatic mutation, gene expression and protein–protein interaction) to compute the similarity between patients/genes. Then, IMCDriver prioritizes the personalized mutated genes according to their functional similarity to the well-established driver genes via Inductive Matrix Completion. Finally, IMCDriver identifies the highly rank-ordered genes as the personalized driver genes. The results on five cancer datasets from the Cancer Genome Consortium show that our IMCDriver outperforms other existing state-of-the-art methods both in the cohort and patient-specific driver gene identification. IMCDriver also reveals some novel driver genes that potentially drive cancer development. In addition, even for the driver genes rarely mutated among a population, IMCDriver can still identify them and prioritize them with high priorities.

Availability and implementation

Code available at

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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