Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease with associated systemic effects.
Objective: To use gene expression microarrays in peripheral blood leukocytes of current and former cigarette smokers to identify differences associated with COPD.
Materials and methods: Random forest modelling and a split-sample case-control approach were used to identify candidate predictors.
Results: We identified 1013 genes and one smoking exposure variable that differentiated current and former smokers with or without COPD. This predictor set was reduced to a nine-gene classifier (IL6R, CCR2, PPP2CB, RASSF2, WTAP, DNTTIP2, GDAP1, LIPE and RPL14).
Conclusion: These gene expression profiles represent potential biomarkers for COPD and may help increase mechanistic understanding of the disease.