Research Summary: Association of MiR-126 with Soluble Mesothelin-Related Peptides, a Marker for Malignant Mesothelioma



Improved detection methods for diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma
(MPM) are essential for early and reliable detection as well as treatment.
Since recent data point to abnormal levels of microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumors,
we hypothesized that a profile of deregulated miRNAs may be a marker of MPM
and that the levels of specific miRNAs may be used for monitoring its

Methods and Results

miRNAs isolated from fresh-frozen biopsies of MPM patients were tested for
the expression of 88 types of miRNA involved in cancerogenesis. Most of the
tested miRNAs were downregulated in the malignant tissues compared with the
normal tissues. Of eight significantly downregulated, three miRNAs were
assayed in cancerous tissue and adjacent non-cancerous tissue sample pairs
collected from 27 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded MPM tissues by
quantitative RT-PCR. Among the miRNAs tested, only miR-126 significantly
remained downregulated in the malignant tissues. Furthermore, the
performance of the selected miR-126 as biomarker was evaluated in serum
samples of asbestos-exposed subjects and MPM patients and compared with
controls. MiR-126 was not affected by asbestos exposure, whereas it was
found strongly associated with VEGF serum levels. Levels of miR-126 in
serum, and its levels in patients’ serum in association with a specific
marker of MPM, SMRPs, correlate with subjects at high risk to develop

Conclusions and Significance

We propose miR-126, in association with SMRPs, as a marker for early
detection of MPM. The identification of tumor biomarkers used alone or, in
particular, in combination could greatly facilitate the surveillance
procedure for cohorts of subjects exposed to asbestos.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 1-April-2011

Author(s): Santarelli L., Strafella E., Staffolani S., Amati M., Emanuelli M., Sartini D., Pozzi V., Carbonari D., Bracci M., Pignotti E., Mazzanti P., Sabbatini A., Ranaldi R., Gasparini S., Neuzil J., Tomasetti M.


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