Paediatrics Publications

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We reported that two microRNAs, miR526b and miR655, are oncogenic in breast cancer (BC). Overexpression of these two miRNAs in poorly metastatic BC cells promotes aggressive BC phenotypes in vitro and in vivo. High expression of each miRNA was associated with poor patient survival. In this pilot biomarker study, we report for the first time that miRNA precursor RNAs (pri-miRNAs) are robust and sensitive biomarkers for BC, detectable in both human blood plasma and biopsy tissues. Pri-miRNA detection and quantification do not require a special enrichment procedure, thus reducing specimen quantity. Blood plasma samples from 90 malignant tumor-bear-ing patients and 20 benign lesion-bearing participants (control) were analyzed for pri-miRNA expression with a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results revealed that normalized expressions of plasma pri-miR526b and pri-miR655 are significantly upregulated in malignancy compared to benign plasmas (p = 0.002 and p = 0.03, respectively). Both pri-miRNAs showed more prominent results to distinguish stage I plasmas from benign plasmas (p = 0.001 for pri-miR526b and p = 0.0001 for pri-miR655). We have also validated pri-miRNA expression in independent tumor bank tissues, showing significant upregulation of both pri-miRNAs in BC; thus, pri-miRNAs are robust markers. The diagnostic relevance of pri-miRNAs was computed with the area under the curve (AUC). Pri-miR526b is a sensitive biomarker to distinguish cancer from control plasmas (sen-sitivity of 86%; AUC = 71.47%, p = 0.0027) with a positive predictive value of 88.89%; however, pri-miR655 did not show significant sensitivity. Furthermore, pri-miR526b could also significantly distinguish tumors as early as stage I from control (sensitivity of 75%; AUC = 72.71%, p = 0.0037). There-fore, pri-miR526b can be used as an early diagnostic biomarker. The expression of both pri-miRNAs was significantly high in ER-positive and HER2-negative subgroups of BC; hence, these biomarkers might play a role in the management of endocrine therapy designs. Additionally, with a case–con-trol cohort study, we identified that high expression of pri-miR526b in the blood is also a risk factor associated with breast cancer (OR = 4.3, CI = 1.39–13.34, p = 0.01). Pri-miRNAs could be considered novel breast cancer blood biomarkers.