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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 14;10(4):e0124245. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124245. eCollection 2015.

Elevated serum microRNA levels associate with absence of high-grade prostate cancer in a retrospective cohort.

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Department of Pathology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60612, United States of America.
Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60637, United States of America.
Department of Urology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 94305, United States of America.


To reduce treatment of indolent prostate cancer (PCa), biomarkers are needed to improve identification of patients with a low-risk of having aggressive disease. Over-treatment of these patients occurs because of uncertainty in the aggressiveness of the entire tumor based on the biopsies, which do not accurately sample multifocal tumors. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are stable serum markers and differential miRNA levels occur in men with PCa. The goal of this study was to identify circulating miRNAs that were associated with aggressive or indolent PCa. We measured circulating miRNAs in 150 patients prior to surgery and compared the miRNA levels to the pathology of the entire radical prostatectomy specimen. For this study we used an exceptionally well-characterized cohort of patients who had benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), low-grade or high-grade PCa. Low-grade was defined as patients with 100% Gleason grade 3 tumor as determined by step-wise sectioning. High-grade PCa patients had 30-90% Gleason grade 4+5 in the tumor. BPH patients had at least two biopsies negative for PCa. Twenty one miRNAs were selected for analysis. The miRNAs were quantified by RT-qPCR and analyzed by logistic regression. High levels of 14 miRNAs were exclusively present in the serum from patients with low-grade PCa or BPH, compared to men with high-grade PCa who had consistently low levels. The expression levels of the 14 miRNAs were combined into a "miR Score" which had a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0.939 to predict absence of high-grade PCa among PCa and BPH patients. Biochemical recurrence (BCR) was known for the PCa patients and a combined "miR Risk Score" accurately classified a subset of patients with low risk of BCR (NPV 0.941). In summary, measurement of serum miRNAs may have pre-surgical utility in combination with clinical risk calculators to identify patients with low risk of harboring aggressive PCa.

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