Research Papers:

Exosomal microRNAs isolated from plasma of mesenteric veins linked to liver metastases in resected patients with colon cancer

Mariano Monzo _, Sandra Santasusagna, Isabel Moreno, Francisco Martinez, Raquel Hernández, Carmen Muñoz, Joan J. Castellano, Josep Moreno and Alfons Navarro

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:30859-30869. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16103

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Mariano Monzo1,*, Sandra Santasusagna1,*, Isabel Moreno2, Francisco Martinez2, Raquel Hernández2, Carmen Muñoz1, Joan J. Castellano1, Josep Moreno2 and Alfons Navarro1

1 Molecular Oncology and Embryology Laboratory, Human Anatomy Unit, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain

2 Department of Medical Oncology and Surgery, Hospital Municipal de Badalona, Badalona, Spain

* These authors have contributed equally to this article

Correspondence to:

Mariano Monzo, email:

Alfons Navarro, email:

Keywords: exosomes, colon cancer, miR-328, microRNAs, tumor-draining vein

Received: February 17, 2017 Accepted: March 03, 2017 Published: March 10, 2017


Before reaching a peripheral vein (PV), miRNAs released by the tumor are diluted and dispersed throughout the body or even retained in a specific organ. We hypothesized that blood drawn from the tumor-draining vein could provide more homogeneous information than blood drawn from the PV as that blood would contain all the biomarkers released by the tumor before they reach a potential metastatic site. We have profiled 754 miRNAs in 15 colon cancer plasma samples from the tumor-draining vein, the mesenteric vein (MV), identifying 13 microRNAs associated with relapse. The prognostic impact of these miRNAs were validated in 50 MV and 50 paired PV plasma samples of stage I-III colon cancer patients. Four miRNAs, let-7g, miR-15b, miR-155 and miR-328, were found overexpressed in MV compared to PV, and patients with high levels of those miRNAs in MV plasma had shorter time to relapse. Interestingly, in patients developing liver metastases, the exosomal cargo of miR-328 was much greater in MV than in PV plasma indicating a possible role of miR-328 in the development of liver metastases. Our results indicate that in colon cancer, the primary tumor releases high concentrations of miRNAs through the MV, and some of them are contained in tumor derived exosomes.

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