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Circulating blood miRNAs for prostate cancer risk stratification: miRroring the underlying tumor biology with liquid biopsies

Authors Hoey C, Liu SK

Received 7 September 2018

Accepted for publication 7 January 2019

Published 27 February 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 29—42


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli

Christianne Hoey,1,2 Stanley K Liu1–3

1Biological Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada; 2Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G 1L7, Canada; 3Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E2, Canada

Abstract: Current risk stratification methods for prostate cancer – although they have seen marked improvements over the past decades – are far from perfect. Despite the significant utility of prostate-specific antigen as a biomarker to monitor for disease recurrence, it cannot predict which tumors will recur or recommend the best treatment for patients. Similarly, although biopsies are imperative for diagnosis and staging, they are saddled with limitations and risks. We must move toward a noninvasive biomarker that has predictive and prognostic efficacy. We therefore review the current literature on circulating miRNA biomarkers, apply their use to two significant clinical problems (ie, how limitations of prostate biopsies can impact diagnosis and treatment management, and the need to tailor treatment for a clinically heterogeneous disease), and evaluate how circulating miRNAs have inherent properties that make them ideal liquid biomarkers. We also outline current gaps in knowledge that must be addressed before they can be implemented into routine clinical practice. With further research on their function and validation of their biomarker utility in large prospective cohorts, circulating miRNAs will likely prove to be the liquid biopsies of tomorrow.

Keywords: miRNA, biomarker, prostate cancer, risk stratification, serum, plasma

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