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See detailDeep sncRNA-seq of the PPMI cohort to study Parkinson’s disease progression
Kern, Fabian; Fehlmann, Tobias; Violich, Ivo et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

Coding and non-coding RNAs have diagnostic and prognostic importance in Parkinson’s diseases (PD). We studied circulating small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in 7, 003 samples from two longitudinal PD cohorts ... [more ▼]

Coding and non-coding RNAs have diagnostic and prognostic importance in Parkinson’s diseases (PD). We studied circulating small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in 7, 003 samples from two longitudinal PD cohorts (Parkinson’s Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) and Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study (NCER-PD)) and modelled their influence on the transcriptome. First, we sequenced sncRNAs in 5, 450 blood samples of 1, 614 individuals in PPMI. The majority of 323 billion reads (59 million reads per sample) mapped to miRNAs. Other covered RNA classes include piRNAs, rRNAs, snoRNAs, tRNAs, scaRNAs, and snRNAs. De-regulated miRNAs were associated with the disease and disease progression and occur in two distinct waves in the third and seventh decade of live. Originating mostly from a characteristic set of immune cells they resemble a systemic inflammation response and mitochondrial dysfunction, two hallmarks of PD. By profiling 1, 553 samples from 1, 024 individuals in the NCER-PD cohort using an independent technology, we validate relevant findings from the sequencing study. Finally, network analysis of sncRNAs and transcriptome sequencing of the original cohort identified regulatory modules emerging in progressing PD patients.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluating the Use of Circulating MicroRNA Profiles for Lung Cancer Detection in Symptomatic Patients
Fehlmann, Tobias; Kahraman, Mustafa; Backes, Christina et al

in JAMA Oncology (2020)

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular ... [more ▼]

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular signatures, such as blood-borne microRNA (miRNA) signatures, may have high rates of sensitivity and specificity but require additional studies with large cohorts and standardized measurements to confirm the generalizability of miRNA signatures. Objective To investigate the use of blood-borne miRNAs as potential circulating markers for detecting lung cancer in an extended cohort of symptomatic patients and control participants. Design, Setting, and Participants This multicenter, cohort study included patients from case-control and cohort studies (TREND and COSYCONET) with 3102 patients being enrolled by convenience sampling between March 3, 2009, and March 19, 2018. For the cohort study TREND, population sampling was performed. Clinical diagnoses were obtained for 3046 patients (606 patients with non–small cell and small cell lung cancer, 593 patients with nontumor lung diseases, 883 patients with diseases not affecting the lung, and 964 unaffected control participants). No samples were removed because of experimental issues. The collected data were analyzed between April 2018 and November 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures Sensitivity and specificity of liquid biopsy using miRNA signatures for detection of lung cancer. Results A total of 3102 patients with a mean (SD) age of 61.1 (16.2) years were enrolled. Data on the sex of the participants were available for 2856 participants; 1727 (60.5%) were men. Genome-wide miRNA profiles of blood samples from 3046 individuals were evaluated by machine-learning methods. Three classification scenarios were investigated by splitting the samples equally into training and validation sets. First, a 15-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients diagnosed with lung cancer from all other individuals in the validation set with an accuracy of 91.4% (95% CI, 91.0%-91.9%), a sensitivity of 82.8% (95% CI, 81.5%-84.1%), and a specificity of 93.5% (95% CI, 93.2%-93.8%). Second, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with lung cancer from patients with nontumor lung diseases in the validation set with an accuracy of 92.5% (95% CI, 92.1%-92.9%), sensitivity of 96.4% (95% CI, 95.9%-96.9%), and specificity of 88.6% (95% CI, 88.1%-89.2%). Third, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with early-stage lung cancer from all individuals without lung cancer in the validation set with an accuracy of 95.9% (95% CI, 95.7%-96.2%), sensitivity of 76.3% (95% CI, 74.5%-78.0%), and specificity of 97.5% (95% CI, 97.2%-97.7%). Conclusions and Relevance The findings of the study suggest that the identified patterns of miRNAs may be used as a component of a minimally invasive lung cancer test, complementing imaging, sputum cytology, and biopsy tests. [less ▲]

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See detailLarge-scale validation of miRNAs by disease association, evolutionary conservation and pathway activity.
Keller, Andreas; Fehlmann, Tobias; Laufer, Thomas et al

in RNA biology (2018)

The validation of microRNAs (miRNAs) identified by next generation sequencing involves amplification-free and hybridization-based detection of transcripts as criteria for confirming valid miRNAs. Since ... [more ▼]

The validation of microRNAs (miRNAs) identified by next generation sequencing involves amplification-free and hybridization-based detection of transcripts as criteria for confirming valid miRNAs. Since respective validation is frequently not performed, miRNA repositories likely still contain a substantial fraction of false positive candidates while true miRNAs are not stored in the repositories yet. Especially if downstream analyses are performed with these candidates (e.g. target or pathway prediction), the results may be misleading. In the present study, we evaluated 558 mature miRNAs from miRBase and 1,709 miRNA candidates from next generation sequencing experiments by amplification-free hybridization and investigated their distributions in patients with various disease conditions. Notably, the most significant miRNAs in diseases are often not contained in the miRBase. However, these candidates are evolutionary highly conserved. From the expression patterns, target gene and pathway analyses and evolutionary conservation analyses, we were able to shed light on the complexity of miRNAs in humans. Our data also highlight that a more thorough validation of miRNAs identified by next generation sequencing is required. The results are available in miRCarta ( https://mircarta.cs.uni-saarland.de ). [less ▲]

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See detailThe Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study: A Comprehensive Approach for Stratification and Early Diagnosis
Hipp Epouse D'amico, Géraldine UL; Vaillant, Michel; Diederich, Nico J. et al

in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (2018), 10

While genetic advances have successfully defined part of the complexity in Parkinson’s disease (PD), the clinical characterization of phenotypes remains challenging. Therapeutic trials and cohort studies ... [more ▼]

While genetic advances have successfully defined part of the complexity in Parkinson’s disease (PD), the clinical characterization of phenotypes remains challenging. Therapeutic trials and cohort studies typically include patients with earlier disease stages and exclude comorbidities, thus ignoring a substantial part of the real-world PD population. To account for these limitations, we implemented the Luxembourg PD study as a comprehensive clinical, molecular and device-based approach including patients with typical PD and atypical parkinsonism, irrespective of their disease stage, age, comorbidities, or linguistic background. To provide a large, longitudinally followed, and deeply phenotyped set of patients and controls for clinical and fundamental research on PD, we implemented an open-source digital platform that can be harmonized with international PD cohort studies. Our interests also reflect Luxembourg-specific areas of PD research, including vision, gait, and cognition. This effort is flanked by comprehensive biosampling efforts assuring high quality and sustained availability of body liquids and tissue biopsies. We provide evidence for the feasibility of such a cohort program with deep phenotyping and high quality biosampling on parkinsonism in an environment with structural specificities and alert the international research community to our willingness to collaborate with other centers. The combination of advanced clinical phenotyping approaches including device-based assessment will create a comprehensive assessment of the disease and its variants, its interaction with comorbidities and its progression. We envision the Luxembourg Parkinson’s study as an important research platform for defining early diagnosis and progression markers that translate into stratified treatment approaches. [less ▲]

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