Gene networks are rapidly growing in size and number, raising the question of which networks are most appropriate for a particular application. Here, we evaluate 21 human genome-wide interaction networks for their ability to recover gene sets associated with 446 different diseases and 9 cancer hallmarks. While all networks have some ability in these recovery tasks, we observe a wide range of performance with STRING, GeneMANIA and GIANT networks having the best performance overall. A general tendency is that performance scales with network size, suggesting that new interaction discovery currently outweighs the detrimental effects of false positives. Correcting for size, we find that the DIP network provides the highest efficiency (value per interaction). Based on these results we create a parsimonious composite network with both high efficiency and absolute performance, which outperforms any single resource. This work provides a benchmark for selection of molecular networks in human disease research.

Citation Format: Justin K. Huang, Daniel E. Carlin, Michael K. Yu, Wei Zhang, Jason F. Kreisberg, Pablo Tamayo, Trey Ideker. Systematic evaluation of gene networks for discovery of disease genes [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 1310.