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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2011 Aug 15;4(6):575-86. Epub 2011 Aug 8.

Plasma microRNAs as novel biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, University of Missouri School of Medicine, 115 Business Loop 70 West, Columbia, MO 65203, USA.


A diagnosis of lung cancer at its early stages is vital for improving the survival rate of patients. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a family of 19- to 25-nucleotide non-coding small RNAs, are frequently dysregulated in lung cancer. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential of circulating miRNAs for early detection of lung cancer. We searched the published literature for the miRNA microarray data of primary lung cancer and selected 15 miRNAs that were most frequently up-regulated in lung cancer tissues. Total plasma RNA including miRNAs was isolated, polyadenylated and reverse-transcribed into cDNAs. The levels of miRNAs were determined by real-time RT-PCR in 74 lung cancer patients and 68 age-matched cancer-free controls. We found that the levels of miR-155, miR-197, and miR-182 in the plasma of lung cancer including stage I patients were significantly elevated compared with controls (P<0.001). The combination of these 3 miRNAs yielded 81.33% sensitivity and 86.76% specificity in discriminating lung cancer patients from controls. The levels of miR-155 and miR-197 were higher in the plasma from lung cancer patients with metastasis than in those without metastasis (P<0.05) and were significantly decreased in responsive patients during chemotherapy (P<0.001). These results indicate that miR-155, miR-197, and miR-182 can be potential non-invasive biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer.


Plasma microRNA, early diagnosis, lung cancer, metastasis, prognosis, real-time RT-PCR

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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