RNA-Seq of Tumor-Educated Platelets Enables Blood-Based Pan-Cancer, Multiclass, and Molecular Pathway Cancer Diagnostics

M.G. Best, N. Sol, E.I. Kooi, J. Tannous, A. Westerman, F. Rustenburg, P. Schellen, H. Verschueren, E. Post, J. Koster, B. Ylstra, N. Ameziane, J. Dorsman, E.F. Smit, H.M. Verheul, D.P. Noske, J.C. Reijneveld, R.J.A. Nilsson, B.A. Tannous, P. WesselingT. Wurdinger

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Tumor-educated blood platelets (TEPs) are implicated as central players in the systemic and local responses to tumor growth, thereby altering their RNA profile. We determined the diagnostic potential of TEPs by mRNA sequencing of 283 platelet samples. We distinguished 228 patients with localized and metastasized tumors from 55 healthy individuals with 96% accuracy. Across six different tumor types, the location of the primary tumor was correctly identified with 71% accuracy. Also, MET or HER2-positive, and mutant KRAS, EGFR, or PIK3CA tumors were accurately distinguished using surrogate TEP mRNA profiles. Our results indicate that blood platelets provide a valuable platform for pan-cancer, multiclass cancer, and companion diagnostics, possibly enabling clinical advances in blood-based "liquid biopsies".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-676
Number of pages11
JournalCancer cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2015


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/blood
  • Blood Platelets/metabolism
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • ErbB Receptors/genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling/methods
  • Gene Ontology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms/blood
  • Pathology, Molecular/methods
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met/genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)/genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2/genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA/methods
  • Signal Transduction/genetics
  • Support Vector Machine
  • Young Adult

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