Using uncertainty to link and rank evidence from biomedical literature for model curation.

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Using uncertainty to link and rank evidence from biomedical literature for model curation.

Bioinformatics. 2017 Dec 01;33(23):3784-3792

Authors: Zerva C, Batista-Navarro R, Day P, Ananiadou S

Motivation: In recent years, there has been great progress in the field of automated curation of biomedical networks and models, aided by text mining methods that provide evidence from literature. Such methods must not only extract snippets of text that relate to model interactions, but also be able to contextualize the evidence and provide additional confidence scores for the interaction in question. Although various approaches calculating confidence scores have focused primarily on the quality of the extracted information, there has been little work on exploring the textual uncertainty conveyed by the author. Despite textual uncertainty being acknowledged in biomedical text mining as an attribute of text mined interactions (events), it is significantly understudied as a means of providing a confidence measure for interactions in pathways or other biomedical models. In this work, we focus on improving identification of textual uncertainty for events and explore how it can be used as an additional measure of confidence for biomedical models.
Results: We present a novel method for extracting uncertainty from the literature using a hybrid approach that combines rule induction and machine learning. Variations of this hybrid approach are then discussed, alongside their advantages and disadvantages. We use subjective logic theory to combine multiple uncertainty values extracted from different sources for the same interaction. Our approach achieves F-scores of 0.76 and 0.88 based on the BioNLP-ST and Genia-MK corpora, respectively, making considerable improvements over previously published work. Moreover, we evaluate our proposed system on pathways related to two different areas, namely leukemia and melanoma cancer research.
Availability and implementation: The leukemia pathway model used is available in Pathway Studio while the Ras model is available via PathwayCommons. Online demonstration of the uncertainty extraction system is available for research purposes at The related code is available on Details on the above are available in the Supplementary Material.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

PMID: 29036627 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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