Motivation

The acquisition of somatic mutations by a tumor can be modeled by a type of evolutionary tree. However, it is impossible to observe this tree directly. Instead, numerous algorithms have been developed to infer such a tree from different types of sequencing data. But such methods can produce conflicting trees for the same patient, making it desirable to have approaches that can combine several such tumor trees into a consensus or summary tree. We introduce The Weighted m-Tumor Tree Consensus Problem (W-m-TTCP) to find a consensus tree among multiple plausible tumor evolutionary histories, each assigned a confidence weight, given a specific distance measure between tumor trees. We present an algorithm called TuELiP that is based on integer linear programming which solves the W-m-TTCP, and unlike other existing consensus methods, allows the input trees to be weighted differently.

Results

On simulated data we show that TuELiP outperforms two existing methods at correctly identifying the true underlying tree used to create the simulations. We also show that the incorporation of weights can lead to more accurate tree inference. On a Triple-Negative Breast Cancer dataset, we show that including confidence weights can have important impacts on the consensus tree identified.

Availability

An implementation of TuELiP and simulated datasets are available at https://bitbucket.org/oesperlab/consensus-ilp/src/main/.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.