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Open Access Highly Accessed Technical Note

Performance evaluation of commercial miRNA expression array platforms

Sachin Sah1, Matthew N McCall2, Deepa Eveleigh1, Michael Wilson1 and Rafael A Irizarry2*

Author Affiliations

1 Asuragen Inc., 2150 Woodward St, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78744, USA

2 Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:80  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-80

Published: 18 March 2010



microRNAs (miRNA) are short, endogenous transcripts that negatively regulate the expression of specific mRNA targets. The relative abundance of miRNAs is linked to function in vivo and miRNA expression patterns are potentially useful signatures for the development of diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers.


We compared the performance characteristics of four commercial miRNA array technologies and found that all platforms performed well in separate measures of performance.


The Ambion and Agilent platforms were more accurate, whereas the Illumina and Exiqon platforms were more specific. Furthermore, the data analysis approach had a large impact on the performance, predominantly by improving precision.