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Serum MicroRNAs for the Diagnosis of Pancreatic and Biliary Tract Cancers

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Key Points

  • Distinguishable patterns were established between patients with pancreatic and biliary tract cancer patients and health controls, but investigators were unable to distinguish between the two types of cancer using the serum microRNA expression profiles.
  • Three serum microRNAs were identified that were able to distinguish patients with cancer from the control group with an accuracy of 92.7%: mir-744-5p, mir-409-3p, and mir-128-3p.

Diagnosis of pancreatic and biliary tract cancers is complex and challenging due to the lack of symptoms and/or the difficulty of direct, invasive, and imaging-based methods of diagnosis. In an effort to develop better diagnostic markers for these diseases, Kim et al analyzed the genome-wide expression of serum microRNAs in patients with pancreatic and biliary tract cancers. Results were published in BMC Medical Genomics.

Researchers investigated profiles of serum microRNAs from patients with pancreatic and biliary tract cancers, and compared the levels found in healthy controls. Sequence reads of the serum microRNAs were generated using high-throughput sequencing, and their expression levels were profiled by quantifying the sequence reads.

Findings

A total of 55 patient samples were analyzed. Distinguishable patterns were established between patients with pancreatic and biliary tract cancer patients and health controls, but investigators were unable to distinguish between the two types of cancer using the serum microRNA expression profiles. Three serum microRNAs were identified that were able to distinguish patients with cancer from the control group with an accuracy of 92.7%: mir-744-5p, mir-409-3p, and mir-128-3p. Dysregulation of these three was also demonstrated in an independent sample group by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

The authors concluded, “Serum microRNA expression profiles failed to distinguish between the two types of cancer; however, statistical and classification analyses revealed three serum microRNAs as effective for discriminating pancreatic cancer and biliary tract cancer. Although tissue or circulatory levels of the three microRNAs have been suggested as representing biomarkers for pancreatic cancer or other cancers, our findings suggested that serum microRNAs can be also useful for pancreatic cancer and biliary tract cancer detection.”

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit bmcmedgenomics.biomedcentral.com.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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