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Validation of Blood-based MiRNAs for Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

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Comprehensive Biomarker Center GmbH has announced the publication of a pioneering Lung Cancer study in Oncotarget (Leidinger et al. 2015). Performed in close collaboration with Saarland University (Dept. Human Genetics, Prof. E. Meese, Clinical Bioinformatics, Prof. A. Keller), the study represents a key advance in translating novel biomarkers from research to clinical use by independent validation of miRNA signatures.

As one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths, the diagnosis of lung cancer is challenging because there are no validated minimally invasive screening procedures, late detection is typically associated with poor outcomes, and the differential diagnosis to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is complex.

Following-up on an initial screening initiative for miRNA biomarkers in lung cancer (Leidinger et al. 2009), miRNA profiles from the whole blood of 120 patients were analyzed using high-throughput qRT-PCR.

The samples included blood from patients diagnosed with the most common type of lung cancer, patients with COPD, as well as healthy controls, and was designed to determine if miRNAs hold promise as a tool for lung cancer screening and differential diagnosis from COPD.

The study showed that lung cancer patients could be precisely differentiated from healthy controls and COPD patients by a blood based miRNA signature illustrating its potential for early diagnosis of lung cancer. These preliminary results show strong evidence that blood-based miRNA signatures can be well replicated, have a substantial potential for lung cancer diagnosis, and are novel powerful biomarker candidates for clinical applications.

“While this study is small, our methods were able to differentiate a patient with cancer from a disease-free individual with 95% accuracy with a simple blood test.” said Jochen Kohlhaas, Chief Executive Officer of CBC. “We’ll certainly continue the development of lung-related biomarkers and work on extending our approach to other diseases.”