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Volume 5, Number 3, 2000

A principal component analysis of patients, disease and treatment variables: a new prognostic tool in breast cancer after mastectomy

Buciński A, Załuski J, Krysiński J, Kaliszan R.


Purpose: To demonstrate unique information potential of a powerful multivariate data processing method, principal component analysis (PCA), in detecting complex interrelationships between diverse patient, disease and treatment variables and in prognostication of therapy´s outcome and response of patients after mastectomy.
Patients and Methods: One hundred-forty-two patients with breast cancer were retrospectively evaluated. The patients were selected from a group of 201 patients who had been treated and observed in the same oncology ward. The selection was based on availability of complete set of information describing each patient. The set consisted of 60 specific data. A matrix of 142 x 60 data points was subjected to PCA using a professional, statistical software (commercially available) and a personal computer.
Results: Two principal components, PC1 and PC2, were extracted. They accounted for 26% of total data variance. Projections of 60 variables and 142 patients were made on a plane determined by PC1 and PC2. A clear clustering of the variables and of the patients was observed. It was discussed in terms of similarity (dissimilarity) of the variables and the patients, respectively. A strikingly clear separation was demonstrated to exist between the group of patients living over 7 years after mastectomy and the group of deceased patients.
Conclusion: PCA offers a new promising alternative of statistical analysis of multivariable data on cancer patients. Using the PCA, potentially useful information on both the factors affecting treatment outcome and general prognosis, may be extracted from large data sets.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2000; 5(3) : 83-89

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