Research Papers:

Exosome-encapsulated microRNAs as circulating biomarkers for colorectal cancer

Shushan Yan, Bing Han, Shunyuan Gao, Xiaochen Wang, Zengfang Wang, Fakai Wang, Jianjun Zhang, Donghua Xu and Beicheng Sun _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:60149-60158. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18557

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Shushan Yan1,2,*, Bing Han3,*, Shunyuan Gao4,*, Xiaochen Wang1, Zengfang Wang5, Fakai Wang6, Jianjun Zhang7, Donghua Xu8,9 and Beicheng Sun1

1Key Laboratory on Living Donor Liver Transplantation, Ministry of Health, Department of Liver Surgery, Collaborative Innovation Center For Cancer Personalized Medicine, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

2Department of Gastrointestinal and Anal Diseases Surgery, The Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China

3Department of Clinical Laboratory, People’s Hospital of Zoucheng, Zoucheng, China

4Department of Neurology, The Affiliated Huai’an Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University and The Second People’s Hospital of Huai’an, Huai’an, China

5Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Weifang Hospital of Maternal and Child Health, Weifang, China

6Department of Neurosurgery, The Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China

7Department of Obstetrics, The Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China

8Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, The Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China

9Clinical Medicine College, Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Beicheng Sun, email: [email protected]

Donghua Xu, email: [email protected]

Jianjun Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: exosomes, microRNAs, colorectal cancer

Received: March 02, 2017     Accepted: June 08, 2017     Published: June 16, 2017


Currently available studies have suggested that a number of exosome-encapsulated microRNAs (miRNAs) are recognized as stable biomarkers for cancers. However, little is known about the effect of exosomal miRNAs on colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of study is to identify specific miRNAs in serum exosomes, which may serve as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for CRC. Microarray analyses of miRNAs in serum exosomes from 3 primary CRC patients and 3 healthy controls were performed. Those differentially expressed exosome-encapsulated miRNAs were verified in exosome-enriched serum samples from 77 CRC patients and 20 healthy controls by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). A total of 39 aberrantly expressed miRNAs in serum exosomes were identified by microarray analysis. After confirmation by qRT-PCR, we found that 5 exosome-encapsulated miRNAs (miR-638, miR-5787, miR-8075, miR-6869-5p and miR-548c-5p) were significantly down-regulated, while 2 exosome-encapsulated miRNAs (miR-486-5p and miR-3180-5p) were significantly up-regulated in serum. Decreased levels of miR-638 in serum exosomes were associated with increased risk of liver metastasis and later TNM stage of CRC. Networks analyses revealed that 5 aberrantly expressed miRNAs (miR-638, miR-5787, miR-8075, miR-6869-5p, and miR-548c-5p) might be involved in the process of glucose metabolism in CRC. The present study shows the specific serum profile of exosome-encapsulated miRNAs in CRC. Those specific miRNAs in serum exosomes may serve as disease biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets for CRC.

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