Verification of a proteomic biomarker panel to diagnose minor stroke and transient ischaemic attack: phase 1 of SpecTRA, a large scale translational study

Biomarkers. 2018 May-Jun;23(4):392-405. doi: 10.1080/1354750X.2018.1434681. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Objective: To derive a plasma biomarker protein panel from a list of 141 candidate proteins which can differentiate transient ischaemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke from non-cerebrovascular (mimic) conditions in emergency department (ED) settings.

Design: Prospective clinical study (#NCT03050099) with up to three timed blood draws no more than 36 h following symptom onset. Plasma samples analysed by multiple reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry (MRM-MS).

Participants: Totally 545 participants suspected of TIA enrolled in the EDs of two urban medical centres.

Outcomes: 90-day, neurologist-adjudicated diagnosis of TIA informed by clinical and radiological investigations.

Results: The final protein panel consists of 16 proteins whose patterns show differential abundance between TIA and mimic patients. Nine of the proteins were significant univariate predictors of TIA [odds ratio (95% confidence interval)]: L-selectin [0.726 (0.596-0.883)]; Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 [0.727 (0.594-0.889)]; Coagulation factor X [0.740 (0.603-0.908)]; Serum paraoxonase/lactonase 3 [0.763 (0.630-0.924)]; Thrombospondin-1 [1.313 (1.081-1.595)]; Hyaluronan-binding protein 2 [0.776 (0.637-0.945)]; Heparin cofactor 2 [0.775 (0.634-0.947)]; Apolipoprotein B-100 [1.249 (1.037-1.503)]; and von Willebrand factor [1.256 (1.034-1.527)]. The scientific plausibility of the panel proteins is discussed.

Conclusions: Our panel has the potential to assist ED physicians in distinguishing TIA from mimic patients.

Keywords: TIA; TIA biomarkers; plasma biomarkers; stroke biomarkers; stroke proteomic; transient ischaemic attack.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / blood
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / diagnosis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics*
  • Stroke / blood
  • Stroke / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteins