A robust multiplex immunoaffinity mass spectrometry assay (PromarkerD) for clinical prediction of diabetic kidney disease

Clin Proteomics. 2020 Oct 20:17:37. doi: 10.1186/s12014-020-09302-w. eCollection 2020.


Background: PromarkerD is a novel proteomics derived blood test for predicting diabetic kidney disease (DKD). The test is based on an algorithm that combines the measurement of three plasma protein biomarkers (CD5L, APOA4, and IBP3) with three clinical variables (age, HDL-cholesterol, and eGFR). The initial format of the assay used immunodepletion of plasma samples followed by targeted mass spectrometry (MRM-LCMS). The aim of this study was to convert the existing assay into an immunoaffinity approach compatible with higher throughput and robust clinical application.

Methods: A newly optimised immunoaffinity-based assay was developed in a 96 well format with MRM measurements made using a low-flow LCMS method. The stability, reproducibility and precision of the assay was evaluated. A direct comparison between the immunoaffinity method and the original immunodepletion method was conducted on a 100-person cohort. Subsequently, an inter-lab study was performed of the optimised immunoaffinity method in two independent laboratories.

Results: Processing of plasma samples was greatly simplified by switching to an immunoaffinity bead capture method, coupled to a faster and more robust microflow LCMS system. Processing time was reduced from seven to two days and the chromatography reduced from 90 to 8 min. Biomarker stability by temperature and time difference treatments passed acceptance criteria. Intra/Inter-day test reproducibility and precision were within 11% CV for all biomarkers. PromarkerD test results from the new immunoaffinity method demonstrated excellent correlation (R = 0.96) to the original immunodepletion method. The immunoaffinity assay was successfully transferred to a second laboratory (R = 0.98) demonstrating the robustness of the methodology and ease of method transfer.

Conclusions: An immunoaffinity capture targeted mass spectrometry assay was developed and optimised. It showed statistically comparable results to those obtained from the original immunodepletion method and was also able to provide comparable results when deployed to an independent laboratory. Taking a research grade assay and optimising to a clinical grade workflow provides insights into the future of multiplex biomarker measurement with an immunoaffinity mass spectrometry foundation. In the current format the PromarkerD immunoaffinity assay has the potential to make a significant impact on prediction of diabetic kidney disease with consequent benefit to patients.

Keywords: Assay development; Biomarkers; Diabetic kidney disease; Immunoaffinity; MRM; Multiplex; Targeted mass spectrometry.