Early Detection Research Network

Dynamic plasma microRNAs are biomarkers for prognosis and early detection of recurrence in colorectal cancer.

Plasma microRNAs (miRNAs) are promising non-invasive biomarkers for colorectal cancer (CRC) prognosis. However, the published studies to date have yielded conflicting and inconsistent results for specific plasma miRNAs.

We have conducted a study using robust assays to assess a panel of nine miRNAs for CRC prognosis and early detection of recurrence. Plasma samples from 144 patients in a prospective CRC cohort study were collected at diagnosis, 6, 12, and 24 months after diagnosis. miRNAs were assayed by Taqman qRT-PCR to generate miRNA normalised copy numbers.

Preoperative high plasma miRNA levels were associated with increased recurrence risk for miR-200b (HR [95% CI]=2.04 [1.00, 4.16], P=0.05), miR-203 (HR=4.2 [1.48, 11.93], P=0.007), miR-29a (HR=2.61 [1.34,5.07], P=0.005), and miR-31 (HR=4.03 [1.76, 9.24], P=0.001). Both plasma miR-31 (AUC: 0.717) and miR-29a (AUC: 0.703) could discriminate recurrence from these patients without recurrence. In addition, high levels of miR-31 during surveillance was associated with a three-fold increased risk of recurrence across all time points. Dynamic postoperative plasma miR-141 and 16 levels correlated with recurrence in the surveillance samples.

Pre-operative plasma miR-29a, 200b, 203, and 31 are potential CRC prognosis biomarkers. In addition, dynamic postoperative miR-31, 141 and 16 levels are potential biomarkers for the early detection of recurrence during CRC surveillance.

Adams SV, Baker K, Böhm J, Dickinson B, Fichera A, Grady WM, Makar K, Medwell S, Moonka R, Redman MW, Sinanan M, Ulrich N, Vickers K, Wang L, Westerhoff M, Wurscher M, Yu M, Yuan Z


Br. J. Cancer, 2017, 117 (8)

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