Expression Profile of MicroRNAs in Serum: A Fingerprint for Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
C. Y. Zhang
Sensitive and specific biomarkers for the early detection of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) are urgently needed to reduce the high morbidity and mortality of the disease. The discovery of serum microRNAs (miRNAs) and their unique concentration profiles in patients with various diseases makes them attractive, novel noninvasive biomarkers for tumor diagnosis. In this study, we investigated the serum miRNA profile in ESCC patients to develop a novel diagnostic ESCC biomarker.
Serum samples were taken from 290 ESCC patients and 140 age- and sex-matched controls. Solexa sequencing technology was used for an initial screen of miRNAs in serum samples from 141 patients and 40 controls. A hydrolysis probe–based stem–loop quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assay was conducted in the training and verification phases to confirm the concentrations of selected miRNAs in serum samples from 149 patients and 100 controls.
The Solexa sequencing results demonstrated marked upregulation of 25 serum miRNAs in ESCC patients compared with controls. RT-qPCR analysis identified a profile of 7 serum miRNAs (miR-10a, miR-22, miR-100, miR-148b, miR-223, miR-133a, and miR-127-3p) as ESCC biomarkers. The area under the ROC curve for the selected miRNAs ranged from 0.817 to 0.949, significantly higher than for carcinoembryonic antigen (0.549; P < 0.0005). More importantly, this panel of 7 miRNAs clearly distinguished stage I/II ESCC patients from controls.
This panel of 7 serum miRNAs holds promise as a novel blood-based biomarker for the diagnosis of ESCC.