MicroRNA expression is altered in cancer cells, and microRNAs could serve as diagnostic/prognostic biomarker for cancer patients. Our study was designed to analyze circulating serum microRNAs in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
We first explored microRNA expression profiles in tissue and serum using TaqMan Low Density Arrays in each six malignant and benign samples: Although 109 microRNAs were circulating at higher levels in cancer patients' serum, we identified only 36 microRNAs with up-regulation in RCC tissue and serum of RCC patients. Seven candidate microRNAs were selected for verification based on the finding of up-regulation in serum and tissue of RCC patients: miR-7-1*, miR-93, miR-106b*, miR-210, miR-320b, miR-1233 and miR-1290 levels in serum of healthy controls (n = 30) and RCC (n = 33) patients were determined using quantitative real-time PCR (TaqMan MicroRNA Assays). miR-1233 was increased in RCC patients, and thus validated in a multicentre cohort of 84 RCC patients and 93 healthy controls using quantitative real-time PCR (sensitivity 77.4%, specificity 37.6%, AUC 0.588). We also studied 13 samples of patients with angiomyolipoma or oncocytoma, whose serum miR-1233 levels were similar to RCC patients. Circulating microRNAs were not correlated with clinical-pathological parameters.
MicroRNA levels are distinctly increased in cancer patients, although only a small subset of circulating microRNAs has a tumor-specific origin. We identify circulating miR-1233 as a potential biomarker for RCC patients. Larger-scaled studies are warranted to fully explore the role of circulating microRNAs in RCC.