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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 May 16;14(5):10332-42. doi: 10.3390/ijms140510332.

Peripheral blood miR-328 expression as a potential biomarker for the early diagnosis of NSCLC.

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Biosciences Laboratory, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST), IRCCS, 47014 Meldola, Italy.


Lung cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, with subsequently poor prognosis. There are no biomarkers available to facilitate early diagnosis or to discriminate between benign and malignant nodules. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are stable molecules that can be found and measured in peripheral blood, thus representing potential diagnostic biomarkers. We evaluated 100 individuals comprising 86 patients with predominantly early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and 24 healthy donors. RNA was extracted from peripheral blood samples and the expression of a panel of miRNAs was analyzed by Real-Time PCR method. Expression levels of miR-328, miR-18a, miR-339 and miR-140 were significantly higher in NSCLC patients than in healthy donors (p < 0.05). In particular, miR-328 showed good diagnostic accuracy in discriminating between patients with early NSCLC and healthy donors (AUC ROC 0.82, 95% CI 0.72-0.92), with 70% sensitivity and 83% specificity at the best relative expression cut-off of 300. Moreover, miR-339 was a good discriminant between healthy donors and late-stage NSCLC patients (AUC ROC 0.79, 95% CI 0.68-0.91). In conclusion, miR-328 represents a potential diagnostic biomarker of NSCLC, especially for the identification of early-stage tumors. Its role in discriminating between benign and malignant nodules detected by spiral CT warrants further investigation.

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