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Progenetix API & Services

The bycon environment provides a number of data services which make use of resources in the Progenetix environment.

Formats and URL Mapping

The service URL format is

API Response formats

Standard responses are provided as Content-Type: application/json. The wrapper format for JSON encoded data follows the standard Beacon response format where the main data is usually contained in the response.results list.

Data File Formats - .pgxseg Segments

Progenetix uses a variation of a standard tab-separated columnar text file such as produced by array or sequencing CNV software, with an optional metadata header for e.g. plot or grouping instructions.

Wile the first edition only was geared towards sample-linked segment annotations, a variation is now being provided for CNV frequencies.

.pgxseg Sample Segment Files

  • a standard tab-delimited Progenetix segments file
    • an additional header may exist
    • only first 5 columns are necessary
    • column 5 (mean) can be empty or dot, if column 6 exists and contains status value
    • undefined fields in existing columns are replaced with the "." character
  • header (optional)
    • header lines start with the # character
    • Plot parameters:
      • lines start with #plotpars=>
      • parameters are added in parameter_name=value;other_parameter=itsValue format - see below
      • basically any plot parameter from PGX can be used
    • Sample / grouping parameters
      • the biosample_id parameter is required to assign values (e.g. group labels) to samples
      • biosample_id has to correspond to the identifiers used in column 1 of the following segments data
      • parameter=value pairs are semicolon-separated
      • values may be wrapped in double quotation marks (group_label="Ductal Breast Carcinoma")
      • group_id should be used for grouping
    • this is a convention for the Progenetix plotting engine
    • group_label is optional for grouping / labeling of the groups
    • Metadata
      • lines start with #meta=>
      • additional information about the file
      • (so far) only informative

For example, this API call retireves the variants for 78 samples from two NCIt cancer types (please be aware of the &filterLogic=OR pragma!):

An excerpt of the segment file would look like below:

#plotpars=>title="Testing Custom Plot Parameters"
#plotpars=>subtitle="Some Chromosomes, Colors etc."
#sample=>biosample_id=pgxbs-kftvhhmm;group_id=NCIT:C6393;group_label="Invasive Ductal and Invasive Lobular Breast Carcinoma"
#sample=>biosample_id=GSM252886;group_id=NCIT:C4504;group_label="Malignant Breast Phyllodes Tumor"
biosample_id  chro  start stop  mean  variant_type  probes
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 911484  11993973  -0.4486 DEL .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 12158755  22246766  0.2859 DUP  .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 22346353  24149880  -0.5713 DEL .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 24160170  33603123  0.0812  . .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 33683474  37248987  -0.6478 DEL .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  1 37391587  248655165 0.0342  . .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  2 110819  240942225 -0.0007 . .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  3 119131  4655519 -0.0122 . .
pgxbs-kftvhhmm  3 4662952 4857477 0.9273 DUP  .

.pgxseg Segment CNV Frequencies

In the frequency file

  • group_id values replace the biosample_id
    • multiple groups can be concatenated in the file
  • chro, start and end are the same as in the sample files
  • gain_frequency and loss_frequency indicate the percent values for gains and losses overlapping the segment, respectively

Future options are under evaluation.

Examples can be derived from the Progenetix "Services" API:

#group=>group_id=icdom-81403;label=Adenocarcinoma, NOS;dataset_id=progenetix;sample_count=18559
group_id  chro  start end gain_frequency  loss_frequency  index
icdom-81403 1 0 1000000 8.8 9.12  0
icdom-81403 1 1000000 2000000 8.49  8.68  1
icdom-81403 1 2000000 3000000 9.81  13.19 2
icdom-81403 1 3000000 4000000 10.02 15.84 3
icdom-81403 1 4000000 5000000 7.94  15.91 4
icdom-81403 2 228000000 229000000 7.37  6.62  477
icdom-81403 2 229000000 230000000 7.39  6.89  478
icdom-81403 2 230000000 231000000 8.3 7.0 479
icdom-81403 2 231000000 232000000 8.24  6.86  480
icdom-81403 2 232000000 233000000 9.1 7.89  481

Data Matrix Files

CNV Frequency Matrix

The CNV frequency matrix contains interval CNV frequencies for genomic bins, separate for gain and loss frquencies:

  • header similar to segment frequency files
  • first column with group identifier
  • standard genome binning on GRCh38 results in 2 x 31061 value columns
  • header line indicates genomic ranges for the bins
  • first all gain frequencies (in %), then all losses
#group=>group_id=NCIT:C7376;label=Pleural Malignant Mesothelioma;dataset_id=progenetix;sample_count=240
#group=>group_id=PMID:22824167;label=Beleut M et al. (2012)...;dataset_id=progenetix;sample_count=159
group_id  1:0-1000000:gainF 1:1000000-2000000:gainF ...  1:0-1000000:lossF  1:1000000-2000000:lossF ...
NCIT:C7376  9.58  7.92  ...  1.89 1.89  ...
PMID:22824167 6.29  0.0 ... 8.18  4.4 ...

CNV Status Matrix

For endpoints with per biosample or callset / analysis delvery, the Progenetix API offers the delivery of a binned status matrix. This matrix can e.g. directly be used for clustering CNV patterns.

  • id columns, followed by
    • all "gain status" columns (e.g. 31061, see above), followed by
    • all "loss status" columns
  • the status is indicated by a coverage value, i.e. the fraction of how much the binned interval overlaps with one or more CNVs of the given type.

The header will contain sample specific information.

#sample=>biosample_id=pgxbs-kftvktaz;analysis_ids=pgxcs-kftwu9ca;group_id=NCIT:C6650;group_label=Ampulla of Vater adenocarcinoma;NCIT::id=NCIT:C6650;NCIT::label=Ampulla of Vater adenocarcinoma
#sample=>biosample_id=pgxbs-kftvkyeq;analysis_ids=pgxcs-kftwvv3p;group_id=NCIT:C3908;group_label=Ampulla of Vater Carcinoma;NCIT::id=NCIT:C3908;NCIT::label=Ampulla of Vater Carcinoma
analysis_id biosample_id  group_id  1:0-1000000:DUP 1:1000000-2000000:DUP 1:2000000-3000000:DUP 1:3000000-4000000:DUP  ...
pgxcs-kftwu9ca  pgxbs-kftvktaz  NCIT:C6650  0 0.3434  1.0 1.0
pgxcs-kftwwbry  pgxbs-kftvkzwp  NCIT:C3908  0.5801  0 0.6415  1.0

Image Formats

The standard format for (plot-)images generated on Progenetix is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). As the name implies, SVG is scalable, i.e. images can be scaled up without loosing quality or expanding in storage size. However, some of teh generated images use also embedded rastered components which will deteriorate during scaling - this is e.g. the case for array probe plots.

!!! note Wikipedia All major modern web browsers—including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Microsoft Edge—have SVG rendering support.

On most pages where plots are being displayed there is a download option for the images - (please alert us where those are missing). Browsers also have the option to export SVGs themselves e.g. as PDF.

The PGX plotting library

Plots on Progenetix are generated using the PGX package, a set of Perl libraries for processing and graphical representation of CNV data. The package contains tools to

  • read and write e.g. Progentix segment files
  • generate binned status maps
  • render plots of sample-specific and aggregate CNV data, such as histograms and CNV frequency heatmaps

CNV Histogram Plots

There are two possibilities to plot CNV histograms through the Progenetix API w/o using the user interface:

  1. direct visualization of pre-computed collations, e.g. publications or diagnosttic entities
  2. a Beacon API query with the added option &output=histoplot

Please use option 1 if accessing complete entities (i.e. only using a single filters value) - this option is not limited through large sample numbers.


Cancer Genomics Publications publications

The publications service serves as backend API for the display of genome screening publications through the Progenetix Publications DB.

It provides articles describing whole genome screening (WGS, WES, aCGH, cCGH) experiments in cancer, including some information about e.g. the numbers of samples analysed with a given technology and if sample profiles are available in Progenetix.

Please contact us to alert us about additional articles you are aware of. The inclusion criteria are described in the documentation.

Since 2021 you can now directly submit suggestions for matching publications to the oncopubs repository on Github.

Cytoband Mapping cytomapper

This services parses either:

  • a properly formatted cytoband annotation (cytoBands)
    • "8", "9p11q21", "8q", "1p12qter"
  • a concatenated chroBases parameter
    • 7:23028447-45000000
    • X:99202660

While the return object is JSON by default, specifying text=1, together with the cytoBands or chroBases parameter will return the text version.

There is a fallback to GRCh38 if no assembly is being provided.

The cytoBands and chroBases parameters can be used for running the script on the command line (see examples below).



As in other bycon services, API responses are in JSON format with the main content being contained in the response.results field.

Gene Coordinates genespans

  • genomic mappings of gene coordinats
  • initially limited to GRCh38 and overall CDS extension
  • responds to (start-anchored) text input of HUGO gene symbols using the geneId parameter or path value
  • returns a list of matching gene objects (see below under Response Formats)
  • the filterPrecision=exact query parameter restricts the response to a single exact gene symbol match


Ontology Cross-Mapping (ontologymaps)

The ontologymaps service provides equivalency mapping between ICD-O and other classification systems, notably NCIt. The mappings are represented in the ICDOntologies project and accessible trough a front-end in the Progenetix Services area.

ICD-O Representation

Our resources use an internal representation of ICD-O 3 codes since no official CURIES are provided by the IARC. The syntax is:

  • ICD-O 3 morphologies
    • "pgx:icdom-"s/\///; i.e. number only code
    • "8500/3" => pgx:icdom-85003
  • ICD-O 3 Topographies
    • "icdot-" + code
    • "C53.9" => pgx:icdot-C53.9


  • required
  • comma-concatenated complete codes and/or prefixes
  • partial codes (see above for ICD-O syntax) will not be matched unless a relaxed filter precision is indicated
  • optional
  • to allow partial code matches (see examples below)


NCIt and ICD-O 3
UBERON and ICD-O 3 Topography

More Information

Public and Local Identifiers ids

The ids service forwards compatible, prefixed ids (see config/ids.yaml) to specific website endpoints. There is no check if the id exists; this is left to the web page handling itself.

The pgx prefix has been registered with and the service can also be used to access identifiers at Progenetix.

Geographic Locations / Cities geolocations

This service provides geographic location mapping for cities above 25'000 inhabitants (~22750 cities), through either:

  • matching of the (start-anchored) name
  • providing GeoJSON compatible parameters:
    • geolongitude
    • geolatitude
    • geodistance
      • optional, in meters; a default of 10'000m (10km) is provided
      • can be used for e.g. retrieving all places (or data from places if used with publication or sample searches) in an approximate region (e.g. for Europe using 2500000 around Heidelberg...)

Query Types

  • by city
  • start-anchored, case insensitive match ?city=heide
  • by id
  • this uses the city::country "id" value, e.g. lecce::italy
  • by geolatitude, geolongitude, geodistance

  1. Before 2022-02-11 there where 3102 (or 6204) intervals. After this, a changed algorithm lead to avoidance of centromere-spanning intervals, i.e. shortened last intervals assigned to the chromosomal p-arm and downstream shifts of interval positions.