Plasma microRNA profiling in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients reveals miR-548q and miR-483-5p as potential biomarkers.

Research paper by Xiao-Hui XH Zheng, Cui C Cui, Hong-Lian HL Ruan, Wen-Qiong WQ Xue, Shao-Dan SD Zhang, Ye-Zhu YZ Hu, Xin-Xi XX Zhou, Wei-Hua WH Jia

Indexed on: 31 May '14Published on: 31 May '14Published in: Chinese Journal of Cancer


MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which play a role in tumorigenesis, may also serve as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers. However, studies on human miRNA profiles in plasma from nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients are in their infancy. Here, we used microarrays to perform systematic profiling of human miRNAs in plasma from NPC patients. We subsequently used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) to validate miRNAs with aberrant expression that could serve as potential biomarkers. By comparing the plasma miRNA profiles of 31 NPC patients and 19 controls, 39 of 887 human miRNAs were found to be aberrantly expressed. Considering the fold change and P value, miR-548q and miR-483-5p were validated in 132 samples from 82 NPC patients and 50 controls. Moreover, high expression of miR-548q and miR-483-5p was further found in 3 NPC cell lines and clinical biopsy tissues from 54 NPC patients and 22 controls. Our results revealed that miR-548q and miR-483-5p are potential biomarkers of NPC. Combining the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses of these 2 miRNAs, an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 0.737 with 67.1% sensitivity and 68.0% specificity were obtained, showing the preliminary diagnostic value of plasma miRNAs. Moreover, most NPC patients with a poor outcome exhibited high expression (> median) of miR-548q (70.6%) and miR-483-5p (64.7%) in tissue samples, indicating their prognostic value. The high expression levels of miR-548q and miR-483-5p in plasma, cell lines, and clinical tissues of NPC patients indicate that their roles in NPC should be explored in the future.