Tumor Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 2175–2181 | Cite as

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

  • Guang-Hui Liu
  • Zong-Guang ZhouEmail author
  • Rong Chen
  • Mon-Jin Wang
  • Bin zhou
  • Yuan Li
  • Xiao-Feng Sun
Research Article


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.


Colorectal cancer MicroRNA Serum Diagnosis Prognosis 





Colorectal cancer


Area under the ROC curve


Receiver-operating characteristics


Carcinoembryonic antigen



We thank the colleagues of the Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery and Institute of Digestive Surgery for providing blood samples and surgical/pathological records. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 30830103).

Conflicts of interest

The National Natural Science Foundation of China was not involved in the study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; writing of the report; and decision making to submit the paper for publication.

Supplementary material

13277_2013_753_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOC 54 kb)
13277_2013_753_MOESM2_ESM.doc (35 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 (DOC 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guang-Hui Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zong-Guang Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Rong Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mon-Jin Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bin zhou
    • 2
  • Yuan Li
    • 2
  • Xiao-Feng Sun
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Gastrointestinal SurgeryWest China Hospital, Sichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Institute of Digestive SurgerySichuan UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.National Key Laboratory of Biotherapy of West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  4. 4.Division of Oncology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine Faculty of Health Sciences, County Council of ÖstergötlandUniversity of LinköpingLinköpingSweden

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