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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56718. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056718. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Identification of circulating microRNAs as potential biomarkers for detecting acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1Modern Medical Research Center, Third Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Changzhou, Jiangsu, China.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults. The disease is characterized by various cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities with distinct prognoses and gene expression profiles. Emerging evidence has suggested that circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) could serve as noninvasive biomarkers for cancer detection; however, little is known about circulating miRNA profiles in AML patients. In this study, a genome-wide serum miRNA expression analysis was performed using Solexa sequencing for initial screen, followed by validation with real-time PCR assays. The analysis was conducted on training and verification sets of serum samples from 140 newly diagnosed AML patients and 135 normal adult donors. After a two-phase selection and validation process, 6 miRNAs, miR-10a-5p, miR-93-5p, miR-129-5p, miR-155-5p, miR-181b-5p and miR-320d, were found to have significantly different expression levels in AML compared with control serum samples. Furthermore, unsupervised clustering analysis revealed the remarkable ability of the 6-miRNA profile to differentiate between AML patients and normal controls. The areas under the ROC curve for the selected miRNAs ranged from 0.8129 to 0.9531. More importantly, miR-181b-5p levels in serum were significantly associated with overall survival. These data demonstrated that the expression patterns of circulating miRNAs were systematically altered in AML and miR-181b-5p may serve as a predictor for overall survival in AML patients.

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