A comprehensive survey of the approaches for pathway analysis using multi-omics data integration


Pathway analysis has been widely used to detect pathways and functions associated with complex disease phenotypes. The proliferation of this approach is due to better interpretability of its results and its higher statistical power compared with the gene-level statistics. A plethora of pathway analysis methods that utilize multi-omics setup, rather than just transcriptomics or proteomics, have recently been developed to discover novel pathways and biomarkers. Since multi-omics gives multiple views into the same problem, different approaches are employed in aggregating these views into a comprehensive biological context. As a result, a variety of novel hypotheses regarding disease ideation and treatment targets can be formulated. In this article, we review 32 such pathway analysis methods developed for multi-omics and multi-cohort data. We discuss their availability and implementation, assumptions, supported omics types and databases, pathway analysis techniques and integration strategies. A comprehensive assessment of each method’s practicality, and a thorough discussion of the strengths and drawbacks of each technique will be provided. The main objective of this survey is to provide a thorough examination of existing methods to assist potential users and researchers in selecting suitable tools for their data and analysis purposes, while highlighting outstanding challenges in the field that remain to be addressed for future development.

Briefings in Bioinformatics

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