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Huber, Marinus; Kepesidis, Kosmas; Voronina, Liudmila; Fleischmann, Frank; Fill, Ernst; Hermann, Jacqueline; Koch, Ina; Milger-Kneidinger, Katrin; Kolben, Thomas; Schulz, Gerald B.; Jokisch, Friedrich; Behr, Jürgen; Harbeck, Nadia; Reiser, Maximilian; Stief, Christian; Krausz, Ferenc ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6525-9449 and Zigman, Mihaela (2021): Infrared molecular fingerprinting of blood-based liquid biopsies for the detection of cancer. In: eLife, Vol. 10, e68758 [PDF, 1MB]


Recent omics analyses of human biofluids provide opportunities to probe selected species of biomolecules for disease diagnostics. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy investigates the full repertoire of molecular species within a sample at once. Here, we present a multi-institutional study in which we analysed infrared fingerprints of plasma and serum samples from 1639 individuals with different solid tumours and carefully matched symptomatic and non-symptomatic reference individuals. Focusing on breast, bladder, prostate, and lung cancer, we find that infrared molecular fingerprinting is capable of detecting cancer: training a support vector machine algorithm allowed us to obtain binary classification performance in the range of 0.78-0.89 (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC]), with a clear correlation between AUC and tumour load. Intriguingly, we find that the spectral signatures differ between different cancer types. This study lays the foundation for high-throughput onco-IR-phenotyping of four common cancers, providing a cost-effective, complementary analytical tool for disease recognition.

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