Objective: To predict spontaneous preterm birth among pregnant women in an African American population using first trimester peripheral blood maternal immune cell microRNA.
Study design: This was a retrospective nested case-control study in pregnant patients enrolled between March 2006 and October 2016. For initial study inclusion, samples were selected that met the following criteria: 1) singleton pregnancy; 2) maternal body mass index (BMI) <30 kg/m2; 3) blood sample drawn between 6 weeks to 12 weeks 6 days gestation; 4) live born neonate with no detectable birth defects. Using these entry criteria, 486 samples were selected for study inclusion. After sample quality was confirmed, 139 term deliveries (38-42 weeks) and 18 spontaneous preterm deliveries (<35 weeks) were selected for analysis. Samples were divided into training and validation sets. Real time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (rt-qPCR) was performed on each sample for 45 microRNAs. MicroRNA Risk Scores were calculated on the training set and area-under-the-curve receiver-operating-characteristic (AUC-ROC) curves were derived from the validation set.
Results: The AUC-ROC for the validation set delivering preterm was 0.80 (95% CI: 0.69 to 0.88; p = 0.0001), sensitivity 0.89, specificity of 0.71 and a mean gestational age of 10.0 ±1.8 weeks (range: 6.6-12.9 weeks). When the validation population was divided by gestational age at the time of venipuncture into early first trimester (mean 8.4 ±1.0 weeks; range 6.6-9.7 weeks) and late first trimester (mean 11.5±0.8 weeks; range 10.0-12.9 weeks), the AUC-ROC scores for early and late first trimester were 0.79 (95% CI: 0.63 to 0.91) and 0.81 (95% CI: 0.66 to 0.92), respectively.
Conclusion: Quantification of first trimester peripheral blood MicroRNA identifies risk of spontaneous preterm birth in samples obtained early and late first trimester of pregnancy in an African American population.