, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 2175-2181

Serum miR-21 and miR-92a as biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of colorectal cancer

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Previous studies from our laboratory identified a number of miRNAs that were aberrantly expressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue. However, their diagnostic and prognostic value in serum has not been fully evaluated. In the present study, we measured the levels of five miRNAs (miR-21, miR-31, miR-92a, miR-18a, and miR-106a) in serum samples from 200 CRC patients, 50 advanced adenoma patients, and 80 healthy controls by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In our study, the levels of miR-21 and miR-92a in patients with CRC and advanced adenoma were significantly higher than those in healthy controls (all P < 0.05). MiR-21 yielded an area under the receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) curve (AUC) of 0.802 and miR-92a yielded an AUC of 0.786 in discriminating CRCs from the controls. Additionally, miR-21 and miR-92a yielded an AUC of 0.709 and 0.701, respectively, in discriminating advanced adenomas from the controls. Combined ROC analyses using both miRNAs, revealed an elevated AUC of 0.847 in discriminating CRCs, and an AUC of 0.722 in discriminating advanced adenomas from the controls. In the multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, high miR-92a expression in CRC was independently associated with poor survival (P = 0.03; hazard ratio 4.36; 95 % confidence interval = 1.64–11.57). No significant difference was observed in the levels of miR-18a, miR-31, and miR-106a among CRC, advanced adenoma, and control samples. In summary, our data indicate that miR-21 and miR-92a serum levels have potential value for early detection of CRC. Furthermore, miR-92a has prognostic value in CRC patients.