Multiple Imputation Approaches Applied to the Missing Value Problem in Bottom-up Proteomics

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. L. Gardner, Michael A. Freitas


Analysis of differential abundance in proteomics data sets requires careful application of missing value imputation. Missing abundance values vary widely when performing comparisons across different sample treatments. For example, one would expect a consistent rate of "missing at random" (MAR) across batches of samples and varying rates of "missing not at random" (MNAR) depending on inherent difference in sample treatments within the study. The missing value imputation strategy must thus be selected that best accounts for both MAR and MNAR simultaneously. Several important issues must be considered when deciding the appropriate missing value imputation strategy: (1) when it is appropriate to impute data, (2) how to choose a method that reflects the combinatorial manner of MAR and MNAR that occurs in an experiment. This paper provides an evaluation of missing value imputation strategies used in proteomics and presents a case for the use of hybrid left-censored missing value imputation approaches that can handle the MNAR problem common to proteomics data.

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