DEXTER: Disease-Expression Relation Extraction from Text.

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Journal Article

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Database (Oxford)






Gene expression levels affect biological processes and play a key role in many diseases. Characterizing expression profiles is useful for clinical research, and diagnostics and prognostics of diseases. There are currently several high-quality databases that capture gene expression information, obtained mostly from large-scale studies, such as microarray and next-generation sequencing technologies, in the context of disease. The scientific literature is another rich source of information on gene expression-disease relationships that not only have been captured from large-scale studies but have also been observed in thousands of small-scale studies. Expression information obtained from literature through manual curation can extend expression databases. While many of the existing databases include information from literature, they are limited by the time-consuming nature of manual curation and have difficulty keeping up with the explosion of publications in the biomedical field. In this work, we describe an automated text-mining tool, Disease-Expression Relation Extraction from Text (DEXTER) to extract information from literature on gene and microRNA expression in the context of disease. One of the motivations in developing DEXTER was to extend the BioXpress database, a cancer-focused gene expression database that includes data derived from large-scale experiments and manual curation of publications. The literature-based portion of BioXpress lags behind significantly compared to expression information obtained from large-scale studies and can benefit from our text-mined results. We have conducted two different evaluations to measure the accuracy of our text-mining tool and achieved average F-scores of 88.51 and 81.81% for the two evaluations, respectively. Also, to demonstrate the ability to extract rich expression information in different disease-related scenarios, we used DEXTER to extract information on differential expression information for 2024 genes in lung cancer, 115 glycosyltransferases in 62 cancers and 826 microRNA in 171 cancers. All extractions using DEXTER are integrated in the literature-based portion of BioXpress.Database URL:


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Open Access