Few serum biomarker tests are implemented in clinical practice and recent reports raise concerns about poor reproducibility of biomarker studies. Here, we investigated the potential role of sex and female hormonal status in this widespread irreproducibility. We examined 171 serum proteins and small molecules measured in 1,676 participants from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. Concentrations of 96 molecules varied with sex and 66 molecules varied between oral contraceptive pill users, postmenopausal females, and females in the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle (FDR-adjusted p-value <0.05). Simulations of biomarker studies yielded up to 40% false discoveries when patient and control groups were not matched for sex and up to 41% false discoveries when premenopausal females were not matched for oral contraceptive pill use. High accuracy (over 90%) classification tools were developed to label samples with sex and female hormonal status where this information was not collected.

doi.org/10.1038/srep26947, hdl.handle.net/1765/96007
Scientific Reports
Department of Neuroscience

Ramsey, J., Cooper, J., Penninx, B., & Bahn, S. (2016). Variation in serum biomarkers with sex and female hormonal status: Implications for clinical tests. Scientific Reports, 6. doi:10.1038/srep26947