Shotgun proteomics identifies serum fibronectin as a candidate diagnostic biomarker for inclusion in future multiplex tests for ectopic pregnancy

Jeremy K Brown, Katarina B Lauer, Emily L Ironmonger, Neil F Inglis, Tom H Bourne, Hilary O D Critchley, Andrew W Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ectopic pregnancy (EP) is difficult to diagnose early and accurately. Women often present at emergency departments in early pregnancy with a 'pregnancy of unknown location' (PUL), and diagnosis and exclusion of EP is challenging due to a lack of reliable biomarkers. The objective of this study was to identify novel diagnostic biomarkers for EP. Shotgun proteomics, incorporating combinatorial-ligand library pre-fractionation, was used to interrogate pooled sera (n = 40) from women undergoing surgery for EP, termination of viable intrauterine pregnancy and management of non-viable intrauterine pregnancy. Western blot was used to validate results in individual sera. ELISAs were developed to interrogate sera from women with PUL (n = 120). Sera were collected at time of first symptomatic presentation and categorized according to pregnancy outcome. The main outcome measures were differences between groups and area under the receiver operating curve (ROC). Proteomics identified six biomarker candidates. Western blot detected significant differences in levels of two of these candidates. ELISA of sera from second cohort revealed that these differences were only significant for one of these candidates, fibronectin. ROC analysis of ability of fibronectin to discriminate EP from other pregnancy outcomes suggested that fibronectin has diagnostic potential (ROC 0.6439; 95% CI 0.5090 to 0.7788; P>0.05), becoming significant when 'ambiguous' medically managed PUL excluded from analysis (ROC 0.6538; 95% CI 0.5158 to 0.7918; P
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6694
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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