Multiplex analysis of 40 cytokines do not allow separation between endometriosis patients and controls.Sci Rep. 2019 11 13; 9(1):16738.SR
Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition characterized by severe pelvic pain and/or infertility. The combination of nonspecific symptoms and invasive laparoscopic diagnostics have prompted researchers to evaluate potential biomarkers that would enable a non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease thus different cytokines represent potential diagnostic biomarkers. As panels of biomarkers are expected to enable better separation between patients and controls we evaluated 40 different cytokines in plasma samples of 210 patients (116 patients with endometriosis; 94 controls) from two medical centres (Slovenian, Austrian). Results of the univariate statistical analysis showed no differences in concentrations of the measured cytokines between patients and controls, confirmed by principal component analysis showing no clear separation amongst these two groups. In order to validate the hypothesis of a more profound (non-linear) differentiating dependency between features, machine learning methods were used. We trained four common machine learning algorithms (decision tree, linear model, k-nearest neighbour, random forest) on data from plasma levels of proteins and patients' clinical data. The constructed models, however, did not separate patients with endometriosis from the controls with sufficient sensitivity and specificity. This study thus indicates that plasma levels of the selected cytokines have limited potential for diagnosis of endometriosis.