Overall sensitivity of this panel was approximately 85%, according to research in Nature Biotechnology.

Rosetta Genomics demonstrated that miRNAs can act as effective biomarkers for identifying the primary tumor site in patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP).

“Accurately identifying the origin of a metastasis in CUP patients can be critical for determining appropriate treatment, and currently presents a true unmet diagnostic need for patients and physicians,” said Amir Avniel, President and CEO. “This research demonstrates the tremendous potential of microRNAs as effective biomarkers and is a significant step towards the development of the first microRNA-based diagnostic tests.”

The scientists measured miRNA expression in RNA extracted from hundreds of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples from more than 20 different known primary tumor tissues and metastases. The results obtained were used to build a classifier that assigns a primary site to a cancer sample based on its miRNA expression.

The team then tried the classifier on a blinded test set. The overall sensitivity was approximately 85% with two-third of the samples being classified with high-confidence, reaching accuracy exceeding 90% and specificity of 99%, according to the company.

Rosetta researchers were assisted by investigators at Soroka University Medical Center, Rabin Medical Center, Sourasky Medical Center, Bnai-Zion Medical Center, Sheba Medical Center, and Tel Aviv University. The paper was published online on March 23 in Nature Biotechnology.

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