AACR 2023 presentation highlights noteworthy diagnostic performance potential using cell-free microbial DNA in diagnosing early-stage lung cancer
April 19, 2023. San Diego, CA—Highlighting that cancer is no longer considered a sterile disease, Greg Sepich-Poore, Ph.D., Chief Analytic Officer and Co-founder of Micronoma, the first biotech company offering early cancer detection with a microbiome-driven, multi-omics liquid biopsy, shared the company’s impressive diagnostic capabilities in a presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. The recent work adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that microbial DNA associated with cancer can be exploited as a novel diagnostic modality.
The talk, “Assessing the real-world utility of cell-free microbial DNA in diagnosing early-stage lung cancer,” detailed the development of Micronoma’s Oncobiota™ test, a clinico-proteo- metagenomic assay that produced results exceeding the cancer diagnostic performance of PET-CT and clinical risk scores, as analyzed side-by-side in a blinded validation cohort of small lung nodules from patients with stage I cancers or lung diseases of diverse etiologies sized between 8-30 millimeters in diameter. The data presented also demonstrated how the Oncobiota assay, unlike other liquid biopsy assays for lung cancer, uses microbial signals to achieve histological subtype discrimination in lung cancer, providing robust differentiation of lung adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma (AUC 0.90, discovery cohort, AUC 0.86; blinded validation cohort), information that could aid clinicians in choosing the appropriate therapeutic options.
Overall, the presented work found strong diagnostic performance of cell-free metagenomes when evaluating an age-, sex-, and risk-matched and treatment-naive cohort of more than 1,000 patients with lung cancer, benign lung diseases, and no disease (healthy). In addition, the research demonstrated the possibility and utility of performing metagenome assembly on more than 5,000 blood and tumor tissue samples, producing a proprietary metagenomic database with superior diagnostic power for nodule malignancy status compared to publicly available reference metagenomes.
“These data establish the utility of cell-free metagenomes as a generalizable and sensitive strategy for early lung cancer detection, warranting applications in additional cancer types,” Sepich-Poore noted, pointing towards forthcoming work.
Micronoma is the first cancer-detection company utilizing signals from circulating microbial nucleic acids in blood to diagnose cancer at an early stage with microbiome-driven liquid biopsy technology. Micronoma was founded in 2019 by leaders in microbiome research with the goal of advancing early cancer diagnostics and personalized treatment through sensitive microbiome techniques, ensuring that patients’ needs are met by their clinicians at the earliest stage for a better chance to live longer, healthier lives. The company is headquartered in San Diego, California.