Evaluating the utility of blood glycan levels as predictors of stage I adenocarcinoma using support vector machines.
Aberrant glycosylation has been shown to be linked to specific cancers, and using this idea, it was proposed that the levels of glycans in the blood could predict stage I adenocarcinoma. To track this glycosylation, glycan were broken down into glycan nodes via methylation analysis. This analysis utilized information from N-, O-, and lipid linked glycans detected from gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The resulting glycan node-ratios represent the initial quantitative data that were used in this experiment.
For this experiment, two Sets of 50 µl blood plasma samples were provided by NYU Medical School. These samples were then analyzed by Dr. Borges’s lab so that they contained normalized biomarker levels from patients with stage 1 adenocarcinoma and control patients with matched age, smoking status, and gender were examined. An ROC curve was constructed under individual and paired conditions and AUC calculated in Wolfram Mathematica 10.2. Methods such as increasing size of training set, using hard vs. soft margins, and processing biomarkers together and individually were used in order to increase the AUC. Using a soft margin for this particular data set was proved to be most useful compared to the initial set hard margin, raising the AUC from 0.6013 to 0.6585. In regards to which biomarkers yielded the better value, 6-Glc/6-Man and 3,6-Gal glycan node ratios had the best with 0.7687 AUC and a sensitivity of .7684 and specificity of .6051. While this is not enough accuracy to become a primary diagnostic tool for diagnosing stage I adenocarcinoma, the methods examined in the paper should be evaluated further. . By comparison, the current clinical standard blood test for prostate cancer that has an AUC of only 0.67.