Schema for Cancer Gene Expr - Gene Expression in 33 TCGA Cancer Tissues (GENCODE v23)
  Database: hg38    Primary Table: tcgaGeneExpr Data last updated: 2017-08-31
Big Bed File Download: /gbdb/hg38/tcga/
Item Count: 39,771
The data is stored in the binary BigBed format.

Format description: BED6+5 barChart format, with name, name2 identifying gene name and accession
chromchr1Reference sequence chromosome or scaffold
chromStart166042243Start position in chromosome
chromEnd166042350End position in chromosome
score0Score from 0-1000, typically derived from total of median value from all tissues
strand++ or - for strand. Use . if not applicable
name2RNA5SP64HUGO gene name
expCount32Number of tissues
expScores0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0Comma separated list of median expression values per tissue
_dataOffset2042491432Offset of sample data in data matrix file, for boxplot on details page
_dataLen44974Length of sample data row in data matrix file

Sample Rows
chr1166070019166166969ENSG00000188859555-FAM78B320.46,0.68,2.03,0.86,0.36,0.58,3.98,0.73,0.91,0.57,0.74,0.44,0.46,0.87,1.01,0.46,1.59,1.45,0.52,0.50,5.97,0.94,1.26,0.51,0.54,0.6 ...1755128740107859
chr1166081182166087483ENSG00000203307444+RP11-375H19.2320.24,0.39,0.60,0.52,0.48,0.33,0.34,0.29,0.55,0.44,0.52,0.52,0.49,0.30,0.50,0.18,0.54,0.32,0.42,0.31,0.77,0.42,0.50,0.44,0.46,0.5 ...194451607797442
chr1166147781166165095ENSG00000230898444-RP11-9L18.3320.33,0.56,0.41,0.49,0.43,0.30,0.39,0.41,0.54,0.45,0.22,0.62,0.64,0.36,0.42,0.55,0.54,0.36,0.38,0.29,0.44,0.78,0.56,0.47,0.39,0.4 ...241968221396965
chr1166334883166335762ENSG00000229588222+RP11-479J7.2320.0,0.09,0.17,0.11,0.0,0.0,1.26,0.0,0.06,0.0,0.0,0.08,0.06,0.08,0.16,0.06,0.69,0.08,0.0,0.0,0.41,0.04,0.08,0.0,0.0,0.06,0.0,0.13 ...238632477476024
chr1166387726166452632ENSG00000225325222-RP11-479J7.1320.04,0.06,0.07,0.11,0.06,0.04,0.09,0.05,0.09,0.08,0.0,0.10,0.07,0.05,0.07,0.08,0.09,0.08,0.06,0.03,0.03,0.15,0.04,0.05,0.06,0.06 ...227526676094883
chr1166475771166490039ENSG00000234142111-RP11-276E17.2320.0,0.10,0.0,0.0,0.05,0.04,0.0,0.0,0.04,0.0,0.04,0.02,0.03,0.17,0.03,0.05,0.02,0.0,0.0,0.03,0.03,0.04,0.02,0.10,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0, ...250493918376898
chr1166839456166856344ENSG00000143157888+POGK323.92,18.17,23.39,22.00,15.46,9.69,18.50,8.73,12.81,11.19,6.12,16.84,16.80,9.14,13.83,13.61,13.59,9.83,8.68,10.31,17.73,12.84,10. ...915542805105515
chr1166856509166876327ENSG00000152382777-TADA1324.66,7.25,13.08,11.04,9.24,6.65,14.40,4.81,7.03,6.09,9.11,7.88,8.54,6.44,5.74,7.05,6.06,7.90,6.90,6.65,7.82,6.73,12.54,9.73,6.15 ...1044904470102644

Cancer Gene Expr (tcgaGeneExpr) Track Description


The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), has generated comprehensive, multi-dimensional maps of the key genomic changes in 33 types of cancer. The TCGA dataset, 2.5 petabytes of data describing tumor tissue and matched normal tissues from more than 11,000 patients, is publically available and has been used widely by the research community.

The Cancer Genome Atlas is a NIH-funded project to catalog genetic mutations responsible for cancer. The data shown here is RNA-seq expression data produced by the consortium.

For questions or feedback on the data, please contact TCGA.

TCGA Gene Expression

The gene track shows RNA expression level for each TCGA tissue in GENCODE canonical genes. The gene scores are a total of all transcripts in that gene.

TCGA Transcript Expression

The transcript track shows RNA expression levels for each TCGA tissue using GENCODE v23 transcripts.

Display Conventions

In Full and Pack display modes, expression for each genomic item (gene/transcript) is represented by a colored bar chart, where the height of each bar represents the median expression level across all samples for a tissue, and the bar color indicates the tissue.

The bar chart display has the same width and tissue order for all genomic items. Mouse hover over a bar will show the tissue and median expression levels. The Squish display mode draws a rectangle for each gene, colored to indicate the tissue with highest expression level if it contributes more than 10% to the overall expression (and colored black if no tissue predominates). In Dense mode, the darkness of the grayscale rectangle displayed for the gene reflects the total median expression level across all tissues.

This track was designed to be used in conjunction with the GTEx expression tracks that can act as a control.

The color of each cancer was derived by mapping the tissue of origin to the closest GTEx tissue, then taking the GTEx tissue's color. Five cancers did not have a matching GTEx tissue and were assigned a rainbow color scheme; these cancers are Cholangiocarcinoma, Esophageal carcinoma, Head and Neck squamous cell carcinoma, Sarcoma and Uveal Melanoma.

The ordering of the cancers is based on the alphabetical ordering of their GTEx tissues. The five cancers that did not match were ordered alphabetically.


TCGA chose cancers for study based on two broad criteria; poor prognosis/overall public health impact and availability of human tumor and matched normal tissue samples that meet TCGA standards.

RNA sequencing was performed using a polyA library and the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. All RNA sequencing was performed by UNC.

Sequence reads for this track were quantified to the hg38/GRCh38 human genome using kallisto assisted by the GENCODE v23 transcriptome definition. Read quantification was performed at UCSC by the Computational Genomics lab, using the Toil pipeline. The resulting kallisto files were combined to generate a transcript per million (tpm) expression matrix using the UCSC tool, kallistoToMatrix. By totaling the TPM values for all transcripts associated to the canonical transcript/gene, a condensed gene per million (gpm) matrix was made. For both matrices average expression values for each tissue were calculated and used to generate a bed6+5 file that is the base of each track. This was done using the UCSC tool, expMatrixToBarchartBed. The bed track was then converted to a bigBed file using the UCSC tool, bedToBigBed.


Data shown here are in whole based upon data generated by the TCGA Research Network. John Vivian, Melissa Cline, and Benedict Paten of the UCSC Computational Genomics lab were responsible for the sequence read quantification used to produce this track. Chris Eisenhart and Kate Rosenbloom of the UCSC Genome Browser group were responsible for data file post-processing, track configuration and display type.


J. Vivian et al., Rapid and efficient analysis of 20,000 RNA-seq samples with Toil bioRxiv bioRxiv, vol. 2, p. 62497, 2016.