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Tumor-educated platelet miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p as potential liquid biopsy biomarkers for nasopharyngeal carcinoma diagnosis

Authors Wang H, Wei X, Wu B, Su J, Tan W, Yang K

Received 12 December 2018

Accepted for publication 27 February 2019

Published 17 April 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 3351—3360

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S195654

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Hui Wang,1 Xiuqi Wei,1 Bian Wu,2 Jingyu Su,1 Wenbin Tan,3 Kunyu Yang2

1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, People’s Republic of China; 2Cancer Center, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430023, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

Background: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is the common malignant tumor of nasopharynx in southern China and other southeastern Asian countries. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in carcinogenesis. Recently, miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p have been found to be involved in carcinogenesis of NPC. Furthermore, platelets in NPC patients may acquire RNAs from NPC cells and turn into “tumor-educated platelet (TEP)”, which may serve as potential biomarkers for a diagnosis of NPC. However, the expression profiles of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p in NPC patients and their diagnostic values are yet to be determined.
Aims: To investigate expression levels of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p and determine their diagnostic values for NPC.
Materials and methods: Relative quantitative real-time PCR was used to determine the expression levels of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p in NPC patients (n=54) as compared to normal subjects (n=36). The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to assess the diagnostic values of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p for NPC.
Results: The expression levels of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p were significantly higher in NPC patients as compared to healthy subjects. The ROC analysis showed that the area under the ROC curve (AUC), sensitivity, specificity and accuracy for TEP miR-34c-3p, miR-18a-5p, or a combination of both miRNAs for NPC diagnostic tests were 0.952, 94.44%, 86.11%, 91.11%, or 0.884, 85.19%, 86.11%, 85.55%, or 0.954, 92.59%, 86.11%, 90.00%, respectively. No correlation was found between expression levels of TEP miR-34c-3p or miR-18a-5p and patients’ demographic variables and their NPC tumor/node/metastasis stages. The positive rates of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p for NPC diagnosis were 93.8% and 87.5%, respectively, which were significantly higher than Epstein-Barr virus DNA with a positive rate of 66.7%.
Conclusion: The expression levels of TEP miR-34c-3p and miR-18a-5p are upregulated in NPC, rendering a significant clinical value for NPC diagnosis. The TEP miRNAs might serve as a novel type of liquid biopsies for NPC diagnosis.

Keywords: tumor-educated platelet, miRNA, liquid biopsy, diagnostic value, nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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