Research Papers:

Circulating microRNAs found dysregulated in ex-exposed asbestos workers and pleural mesothelioma patients as potential new biomarkers

Ilaria Bononi, Manola Comar, Andrea Puozzo, Mariarita Stendardo, Piera Boschetto, Sara Orecchia, Roberta Libener, Roberto Guaschino, Silvia Pietrobon, Manuela Ferracin, Massimo Negrini, Fernanda Martini, Massimo Bovenzi and Mauro Tognon _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:82700-82711. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12408

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Ilaria Bononi1,*, Manola Comar2,*, Andrea Puozzo1,*, Mariarita Stendardo3, Piera Boschetto3, Sara Orecchia4, Roberta Libener4, Roberto Guaschino5, Silvia Pietrobon1, Manuela Ferracin6, Massimo Negrini1,7, Fernanda Martini1, Massimo Bovenzi8, Mauro Tognon1

1Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, Section of Pathology, Oncology and Experimental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

2Institute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS “Burlo-Garofolo”– Trieste, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

3Department of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

4Mesothelioma BioBank, Pathology Unit and City Hospital, Alessandria, Italy

5Transfusion Medicine, City Hospital, Alessandria, Italy

6Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine – DIMES, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

7Laboratory for Technologies of Advances Therapies (LTTA), University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

8Clinical Unit of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Mauro Tognon, email: [email protected]

Fernanda Martini, email: [email protected]

Keywords: microRNA, mesothelioma, biomarker, asbestos, worker

Received: June 07, 2016    Accepted: September 16, 2016    Published: October 03, 2016


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a fatal cancer, is an occupational disease mostly affecting workers ex-exposed to asbestos fibers. The asbestos, a cancerogenic mineral of different chemical composition, was widely employed in western Countries in industrial manufactures of different types. MPM may arise after a long latency period, up to five decades. MPM is resistant to conventional chemo- and radio-therapies. Altogether, these data indicate that the identification of new and specific markers are of a paramount importance for an early diagnosis and treatment of MPM. In recent years, microRNAs expression was found dysregulated in patients, both in cancer cells and sera, affected by tumors of different histotypes, including MPM. Cell and circulanting microRNAs, found to be dysregulated in this neoplasia, were proposed as new biomarkers. It has been reported that circulating microRNAs are stable in biological fluids and could be employed as potential MPM biomarkers. In this investigation, circulating microRNAs (miR) from serum samples of MPM patients and workers ex-exposed to asbestos fibers (WEA) and healthy subjects (HS) were comparatively analyzed by microarray and RT-qPCR technologies. Our results allowed (i) to select MiR-3665, an endogenous stable microRNA, as the internal control to quantify in our analyses circulating miRNAs; to detect (ii) miR-197-3p, miR-1281 and miR 32-3p up-regulated in MPM compared to HS; (iii) miR-197-3p and miR-32-3p up-regulated in MPM compared to WEA; (iv) miR-1281 up-regulated in both MPM and WEA compared to HS. In conclusion, three circulating up-regulated microRNAs, i.e. miR-197-3p, miR-1281 and miR-32-3p are proposed as potential new MPM biomarkers.

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