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Oncol Rep. 2013 Jan;29(1):169-76. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.2105. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Differential expression profiles of microRNAs as potential biomarkers for the early diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

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Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210009, PR China.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most lethal malignancies worldwide. To reduce the high morbidity and mortality of the disease, sensitive and specific biomarkers for early detection are urgently needed. Tumor-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) seem to be potential biomarkers for the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In this study, differentially expressed miRNAs in tumor tissues and adjacent non-tumor tissues were detected by miRNA microarrays. Stem-loop real-time reverse transcription PCR was conducted to verify the candidate miRNAs discovered by microarray analysis. The data showed that hsa-miR-338-3p, hsa-miR‑218 and hsa-miR-139-5p were downregulated in tumor tissues compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues, while hsa-miR‑183, hsa-miR-574-5p, hsa-miR-21* and hsa-miR‑601 were upregulated in tumor tissues. Multiple regression analysis revealed the aberrant expression of hsa-miR-338-3p, hsa‑miR-139-5p, hsa-miR‑574-5p and hsa-miR-601 increased the risk of esophageal cancer. Furthermore, we found hsa-miR-21* was significantly increased in heavy drinking patients. Therefore, there is a set of differentially expressed miRNAs in esophageal cancer which may be associated with the incidence and development of ESCC. Differential expression profiles of miRNAs in ESCC may be promising biomarkers for the early screening of high-risk populations and early detection.

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