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BMC Res Notes. 2014 Aug 30;7:581. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-581.

Universal disease biomarker: can a fixed set of blood microRNAs diagnose multiple diseases?

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Department of Physics, Chuo University, 1-13-27 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, 112-8551 Tokyo, Japan.



The selection of disease biomarkers is often difficult because of their unstable identification, i.e., the selection of biomarkers is heavily dependent upon the set of samples analyzed and the use of independent sets of samples often results in a completely different set of biomarkers being identified. However, if a fixed set of disease biomarkers could be identified for the diagnosis of multiple diseases, the difficulties of biomarker selection could be reduced.


In this study, the previously identified universal disease biomarker (UDB) consisting of blood miRNAs that could discriminate between patients with multiple diseases and healthy controls was extended to the recently reported independent measurements of blood microRNAs (miRNAs). The performance achieved by UDB in an independent set of samples was competitive with performances achieved with biomarkers selected using lasso, a standard, heavily sample-dependent procedure. Furthermore, the development of stable feature extraction was suggested to be a key factor in constructing more efficient and stable (i.e., sample- and disease-independent) UDBs.


The previously proposed UDB was successfully extended to an additional seven diseases and is expected to be useful for the diagnosis of other diseases.

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