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Biochemistry - Oncology - Urology

MicroRNAs in Renal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnostic Implications of Serum miR-1233 Levels
Published: Friday, September 30, 2011
Author: Lena M. Wulfken et al.

by Lena M. Wulfken, Rudolf Moritz, Carsten Ohlmann, Stefan Holdenrieder, Volker Jung, Frank Becker, Edwin Herrmann, Gisela Walgenbach-Brünagel, Alexander von Ruecker, Stefan C. Müller, Jörg Ellinger


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).

Methodology/Principal Findings

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.