J Cancer Prev.  2021 Dec;26(4):258-265. 10.15430/JCP.2021.26.4.258.

Evaluation of the Value of Multiplex MicroRNA Analysis as a Breast Cancer Screening in Korean Women under 50 Years of Age with a High Proportion of Dense Breasts

  • 1BIOINFRA Life Science Inc., Seoul, Korea
  • 2DIOGENE Inc., Seongnam, Korea


This study was conducted to confirm the performance of the microRNA (miRNA) biomarker combination as a new breast cancer screening method in Korean women under the age of 50 with a high percentage of dense breasts. To determine the classification performance of a set of miRNA biomarkers (miR-1246, 202, 21, and 219B) useful for breast cancer screening, we determined whether there was a significant difference between the breast cancer and healthy control groups through box plots and the Mann– Whitney U-test, which was further examined in detail by age group. To verify the classification performance of the 4 miRNA biomarker set, 4 classification methods (logistic regression, random forest, XGBoost, and generalized linear model plus random forest) were applied, and 10-fold cross-validation was used as a validation method to improve performance stability. We confirmed that the best breast cancer detection performance was achievable in patients under 50 years of age when the set of 4 miRNAs were used. Under the age of 50, the 4 miRNA biomarkers showed the highest performance with a sensitivity of 85.29%, specificity of 93.33%, and area under the curve (AUC) of 0.961. Examining the results of 4 miRNA biomarkers was found to be an effective strategy for diagnosing breast cancer in Korean women under 50 years of age with dense breasts, and hence has the potential as a new breast cancer screening tool. Further validation in an appropriate screening population with large-scale clinical trials is required.


MicroRNA; Breast cancer; Screening; Dense breast; Korean women under the age of 50
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