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Cancer Biomark. 2017;18(1):11-17. doi: 10.3233/CBM-160667.

Serum microRNA-15a level acts as a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Li J1,1, Li M2,1, Gao F2, Ge X2.

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Department of Radiology, Putuo Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Department of Radiology, Huadong Hospital Affliated to Fudan University, Shanghai, China.



Clinical significance of microRNA (miR)-15a in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains unclear.


To evaluate the expression level of miR-15a and to determine its potential for diagnosis and prognosis in ESCC.


Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed to examine the expression levels of miR-15a in ESCC tissues and patients' sera. The diagnostic and prognostic implications of serum miR-15a level in human ESCC were further evaluated.


Expression levels of miR-15a in ESCC tissues and patients' sera were significantly decreased (both P< 0.001). Additionally, serum miR-15a had an optimal diagnostic cut-off point (2.29) for ESCC with sensitivity of 86.36% and specificity of 100.00%. Moreover, low serum miR-15a level more frequently occurred in ESCC patients with advanced tumor-node-metastasis, T and N stages (all P= 0.01) and poor tumor differentiation (P= 0.03). The Kaplan-Meier curve showed that low miR-15a expression was significantly associated with shorter overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of ESCC patients (both P< 0.001). Further multivariate analysis identified miR-15a as an independent prognostic factor for both OS and DFS (both P= 0.01).


Decreased expression of miR-15a may play a crucial role in ESCC development and progression. Serum miR-15a level could be used as a potential diagnostic and prognostic marker in clinics.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; clinicopathological feature; diagnosis; microRNA-15a; prognosis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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