J Cancer 2016; 7(5):490-499. doi:10.7150/jca.12351

Research Paper

Evaluation of Plasma miR-21 and miR-152 as Diagnostic Biomarkers for Common Types of Human Cancers

Hankui Chen1,*, Helu Liu1,8*, Hanqing Zou1, Rui Chen1, Yuhong Dou1,8, Shile Sheng1, Shengming Dai1,9, Junmei Ai1, Joshua Melson2, Rick A. Kittles6, Mehdi Pirooznia7, Michael J. Liptay1, 2, 3, Jeffrey A. Borgia1, 2, 4, Youping Deng1, 2, 5✉

1. Rush University Cancer Center, Chicago, IL 60612;
2. Department of Pathology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612;
3. Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612;
4. Department of Biochemistry, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612;
5. Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612;
6. Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ 85724;
7. Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287.
8. Shenzhen Baoan District Shajing Hospital, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518104, China.
9. Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Fourth Hospital Affiliated to Guangxi Medical University, Liuzhou, Guangxi 545005, China.
*These authors had equal contribution to the presented work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Chen H, Liu H, Zou H, Chen R, Dou Y, Sheng S, Dai S, Ai J, Melson J, Kittles RA, Pirooznia M, Liptay MJ, Borgia JA, Deng Y. Evaluation of Plasma miR-21 and miR-152 as Diagnostic Biomarkers for Common Types of Human Cancers. J Cancer 2016; 7(5):490-499. doi:10.7150/jca.12351. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v07p0490.htm

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Stable blood based miRNA species have allowed for the differentiation of patients with various types of cancer. Therefore, specific blood-based miRNA might be considered as a methodology which could be informative of the presence of cancer potentially from multiple distinct organ sites. Recently, miR-21 has been identified as an “oncomir” in various tumors while miR-152 as a tumor suppressor. In this study, we investigated whether circulating miR-21 and miR-152 can be used for early detection of lung cancer (LuCa), colorectal carcinoma (CRC), breast cancer (BrCa) and prostate cancer (PCa), with distinguishing cancer from various benign lesions on these organ sites. We measured the two miRNA levels by using real-time RT-PCR in plasma samples from a total of 204 cancer patients, 159 various benign lesions, and 228 normal subjects. We observed significantly elevated expression of miR-21 and miR-152 in LuCa, CRC, and BrCa when compared with normal controls. We also found upregulation of plasma miR-21 and miR-152 levels in patients with benign lesions of lung and breast, as compared to normal controls, respectively. No significant expression variation of the two miRNAs was observed in PCa or prostatic benign lesions as compared to healthy controls. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses revealed that miR-21 and/or miR-152 can discriminate LuCa, CRC and BrCa from normal controls. Our results suggest that plasma miR-21 and miR-152 may serve as non-specific noninvasive biomarkers for early screening of LuCa, CRC, and BrCa, but not PCa.

Keywords: miRNA, cancer