Whole blood microRNA expression may not be useful for screening non-small cell lung cancer
by Santosh K. Patnaik, Eric D. Kannisto, Reema Mallick, Anil Vachani, Sai YendamuriAt least seven studies have suggested that microRNA levels in whole blood can be diagnostic for lung cancer. We conducted a large bi-institutional study to validate this. Qiagen® PAXgene™ Blood miRNA System was used to collect blood and extract RNA from it for 85 pathologic stage I-IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases and 76 clinically-relevant controls who had a benign pulmonary mass, or a high risk of developing lung cancer because of a history of cigarette smoking or age >60 years. Cases and controls were similar for age, gender, race, and blood hemoglobin and leukocyte but not platelet levels (0.23 and 0.26 million/μl, respectively; t test P = 0.01). Exiqon® MiRCURY™ microarrays were used to quantify microRNAs in RNA isolates. Quantification was also performed using Taqman™ microRNA reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assays for five microRNAs whose lung cancer-diagnostic potential had been suggested in seven published studies. Of the 1,941 human mature microRNAs detectable with the microarray platform, 598 (31%) were identified as expressed and reliably quantified among the study's subjects. However, none of the microRNAs was differentially expressed between cases and controls (P >0.05 at false discovery rate <5% in test using empirical Bayes-moderated t statistics). In classification analyses with leave-one-out internal cross-validation, cases and controls could be identified by microRNA expression with 47% and 50% accuracy with support vector machines and top-scoring pair methods, respectively. Cases and controls did not differ for RT-PCR-based measurements of any of the five microRNAs whose biomarker potential had been suggested by seven previous studies. Additionally, no difference for microRNA expression was noticed in microarray-based microRNA profiles of whole blood of 12 stage IA-IIIB NSCLC cases before and three-four weeks after tumor resection. These findings show that whole blood microRNA expression profiles lack diagnostic value for high-risk screening of NSCLC, though such value may exist for selective sub-groups of NSCLC and control populations.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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