In studies to identify circulating microRNA levels that could distinguish low-stage pancreatic cancer from healthy and disease controls, Li and colleagues, measured 735 microRNAs in pancreatic cancer case and control sera and selected 18 microRNA candidates for validation in an independent set of case and control samples.
Of the significantly elevated circulating microRNAs in patients with pancreatic cancer compared to controls, miR-1290 had the best diagnostic performance. Receiver operating characteristic analysis of miR-1290 serum levels yielded area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.96 for subjects with pancreatic cancer (n = 41) relative to healthy controls (n = 19), 0.81 for subjects with chronic pancreatitis (n = 35), and 0.80 for subjects with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (n = 18). Levels of miR-1290 were also significantly higher in subjects with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (n = 20) than in healthy controls (AUC 0.76).
Levels of miR-1290 distinguished patients with low-stage pancreatic cancer from controls better than CA19-9 levels; similar to CA19-9 values, higher miR-1290 levels also predicted poorer outcome among patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy. Greater numbers of miR-1290 transcripts were detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization in primary pancreatic cancer and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm than in normal pancreatic duct cells, and miR-1290 was found to influence in vitro pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and invasive ability.
The investigators concluded, “The detection of elevated circulating miR-1290 has the potential to improve the early detection of pancreatic cancer.” ■
A, et al: Clin Cancer Res. May 29, 2013 (early release online).