Motivation: Numerous competing algorithms for prediction in high-dimensional settings have been developed in the statistical and machine-learning literature. Learning algorithms and the prediction models they generate are typically evaluated on the basis of cross-validation error estimates in a few exemplary datasets. However, in most applications, the ultimate goal of prediction modeling is to provide accurate predictions for independent samples obtained in different settings. Cross-validation within exemplary datasets may not adequately reflect performance in the broader application context. Methods: We develop and implement a systematic approach to ‘cross-study validation’, to replace or supplement conventional cross-validation when evaluating high-dimensional prediction models in independent datasets. We illustrate it via simulations and in a collection of eight estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer microarray gene-expression datasets, where the objective is predicting distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS). We computed the C-index for all pairwise combinations of training and validation datasets. We evaluate several alternatives for summarizing the pairwise validation statistics, and compare these to conventional cross-validation. Results: Our data-driven simulations and our application to survival prediction with eight breast cancer microarray datasets, suggest that standard cross-validation produces inflated discrimination accuracy for all algorithms considered, when compared to cross-study validation. Furthermore, the ranking of learning algorithms differs, suggesting that algorithms performing best in cross-validation may be suboptimal when evaluated through independent validation. Availability: The survHD: Survival in High Dimensions package (http://www.bitbucket.org/lwaldron/survhd) will be made available through Bioconductor. Contact: email@example.com Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Bernau, C., Riester, M., Boulesteix, A., Parmigiani, G., Huttenhower, C., Waldron, L. & Trippa, L. (2014). Cross-study validation for the assessment of prediction algorithms. Bioinformatics, 30(12), i105-i112. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btu279.