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Cancer Epidemiol. 2011 Dec;35(6):580-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2011.02.016. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Recovering circulating extracellular or cell-free RNA from bodily fluids.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 540 06 Thessaloniki, Greece.


The presence of extracellular circulating or cell-free RNA in biological fluids is becoming a promising diagnostic tool for non invasive and cost effective cancer detection. Extracellular RNA or miRNA as biological marker could be used either for the early detection and diagnosis of the disease or as a marker of recurrence patterns and surveillance. In this review article, we refer to the origin of the circulating extracellular RNA, we summarise the data on the biological fluids (serum/plasma, saliva, urine, cerebrospinal fluid and bronchial lavage fluid) of patients suffering from various types of malignancies reported to contain a substantial amount of circulating extracellular (or cell-free) RNAs and we discuss the appropriate reagents and methodologies needed to be employed in order to obtain RNA material of high quality and integrity for the majority of the experimental methods used in RNA expression analysis. Furthermore, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the RT-PCR or microarray methodology which are the methods more often employed in procedures of extracellular RNA analysis.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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