Comparison of classifier fusion methods for predicting response to anti HIV-1 therapy

View publication


Background: Analysis of the viral genome for drug resistance mutations is state-of-the-art for guiding treatment selection for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients. These mutations alter the structure of viral target proteins and reduce or in the worst case completely inhibit the effect of antiretroviral compounds while maintaining the ability for effective replication. Modern anti-HIV-1 regimens comprise multiple drugs in order to prevent or at least delay the development of resistance mutations. However, commonly used HIV-1 genotype interpretation systems provide only classifications for single drugs. The EuResist initiative has collected data from about 18,500 patients to train three classifiers for predicting response to combination antiretroviral therapy, given the viral genotype and further information. In this work we compare different classifier fusion methods for combining the individual classifiers. Principal Findings: The individual classifiers yielded similar performance, and all the combination approaches considered performed equally well. The gain in performance due to combining methods did not reach statistical significance compared to the single best individual classifier on the complete training set. However, on smaller training set sizes (200 to 1,600 instances compared to 2,700) the combination significantly outperformed the individual classifiers (p<0.01; paired one-sided Wilcoxon test). Together with a consistent reduction of the standard deviation compared to the individual prediction engines this shows a more robust behavior of the combined system. Moreover, using the combined system we were able to identify a class of therapy courses that led to a consistent underestimation (about 0.05 AUC) of the system performance. Discovery of these therapy courses is a further hint for the robustness of the combined system. Conclusion: The combined EuResist prediction engine is freely available at © 2008 Altmann et al.