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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014 Jun;138(6):828-32. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2013-0134-OA.

Study of circulating microRNA-125b levels in serum exosomes in advanced melanoma.

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From the Laboratory of Biochemistry (Drs Alegre and González and Ms Rodriguez) and the Department of Medical Oncology (Drs Sanmamed and Martín-Algarra and Dr Carranza), University Clinic of Navarra, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.



Malignant melanoma is an aggressive tumor that produces exosomes, which contain microRNAs (miRNAs) that could be of utility in following tumoral cell dysregulation. MicroR-125b is a miRNA whose down-regulation seems to be implicated in melanoma progression.


To analyze miR-125b levels in serum, and in exosomes obtained from serum, from patients with advanced melanoma.


Serum samples were obtained from 21 patients with advanced melanoma, from 16 disease-free patients with melanoma, and from 19 healthy volunteers. Exosomes were isolated from serum by precipitation, and miR-16 and miR-125b levels were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction.


MicroR-16, but not miR-125b, was detected in all samples, and miR-16 levels were significantly higher in serum than they were in exosomes. MicroR-16 expression levels did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (patients with melanoma and healthy donors). There was a significant relationship between miR-125b and miR-16 levels in exosomes. Additionally, miR-125b levels in exosomes were significantly lower in patients with melanoma compared with disease-free patients with melanoma and healthy controls.


Exosomes can provide a suitable material to measure circulating miRNA in melanoma, and miR-16 can be used as an endogenous normalizer. Lower levels of miR-125b in exosomes obtained from serum are associated with advanced melanoma disease, probably reflecting the tumoral cell dysregulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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