Indexed on: 22 Jul '16Published on: 22 Jul '16Published in: PloS one
Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been detected in various types of cancer and have been proposed as novel biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment. Until recently, however, no studies had comprehensively examined circulating miRNAs in oral cancer. The current study used an ultra-sensitive genome-wide miRNA array to investigate changes in circulating miRNAs in plasma from five patients with oral cancer and ten healthy individuals. Results indicated that there were only a few circulating miRNAs, including miR-223, miR-26a, miR-126, and miR-21, that were up-regulated in patients with oral cancer. A subsequent validation test indicated that circulating miR-223 levels were significantly higher (~2-fold, P< 0.05) in patients with oral cancer (n = 31) than in those without cancer (n = 31). Moreover, miR-223 was found to be up-regulated in tumor-adjacent normal tissue compared to tumor tissue from patients with oral cancer. A gain-of-function assay was performed to explore the potential roles of circulating miR-223 in the development of oral cancer. Results revealed that miR-223 functions as a tumor suppressor by inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. In conclusion, this study suggested that circulating miR-223 may serve as a potential biomarker for diagnosis and that it may represent a novel therapeutic target for treatment of oral cancer.