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Oncol Rep. 2013 Aug;30(2):535-44. doi: 10.3892/or.2013.2525. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

microRNA detection in feces, sputum, pleural effusion and urine: novel tools for cancer screening (Review).

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400037, PR China.


microRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA sequences that play important roles in the regulation of gene expression. They have significant regulatory functions in basic cellular processes, including differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. miRNAs are differentially expressed in tumors, compared with normal tissues. Importantly, miRNAs are also stable and abundantly present in body fluids and feces. The high reproducibility, sensitivity and specificity of miRNAs in body fluids and feces enable miRNAs to be used as potential molecular markers for cancer screening. An increasingly large number of research studies have reported the role of miRNAs in this field. In the present review, we focused mainly on the application of detecting miRNAs in stool, sputum, pleural effusion and urine, to detect colon, lung and urological cancers, highlighting the role of miRNAs in early diagnosis and prognosis.

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