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Screening for Preterm Birth: Potential for a Metabolomics Biomarker Panel

The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork T12 YE02, Ireland
School of Public Health, University College Cork, Cork T12 XF62, Ireland
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(5), 90;
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics of Complex Traits)
PDF [2007 KB, uploaded 7 May 2019]


The aim of this preliminary study was to investigate the potential of maternal serum to provide metabolomic biomarker candidates for the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB) in asymptomatic pregnant women at 15 and/or 20 weeks’ gestation. Metabolomics LC-MS datasets from serum samples at 15- and 20-weeks’ gestation from a cohort of approximately 50 cases (GA < 37 weeks) and 55 controls (GA > 41weeks) were analysed for candidate biomarkers predictive of SPTB. Lists of the top ranked candidate biomarkers from both multivariate and univariate analyses were produced. At the 20 weeks’ GA time-point these lists had high concordance with each other (85%). A subset of 4 of these features produce a biomarker panel that predicts SPTB with a partial Area Under the Curve (pAUC) of 12.2, a sensitivity of 87.8%, a specificity of 57.7% and a p-value of 0.0013 upon 10-fold cross validation using PanelomiX software. This biomarker panel contained mostly features from groups already associated in the literature with preterm birth and consisted of 4 features from the biological groups of “Bile Acids”, “Prostaglandins”, “Vitamin D and derivatives” and “Fatty Acids and Conjugates”. View Full-Text
Keywords: metabolomics; prediction; complex disease; heterogeneity; biomarkers; panel; preterm birth metabolomics; prediction; complex disease; heterogeneity; biomarkers; panel; preterm birth

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Considine, E.C.; Khashan, A.S.; Kenny, L.C. Screening for Preterm Birth: Potential for a Metabolomics Biomarker Panel. Metabolites 2019, 9, 90.

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