Research Papers:

Evidence that circulating proteins are more promising than miRNAs for identification of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue

Linda Boldrup _, Giuseppe Troiano, Xiaolian Gu, Philip Coates, Robin Fåhraeus, Torben Wilms, Lena Norberg-Spaak, Lixiao Wang and Karin Nylander

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:103437-103448. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21402

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Linda Boldrup1, Giuseppe Troiano2, Xiaolian Gu1, Philip Coates3, Robin Fåhraeus1,3,4, Torben Wilms5, Lena Norberg-Spaak5, Lixiao Wang1 and Karin Nylander1

1 Department of Medical Biosciences/Pathology, Umeå University, SE – 901 85 Umeå, Sweden

2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, 71122 Foggia, Italy

3 RECAMO, Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, 656 53 Brno, Czech Republic

4 Institut de Génétique Moléculaire, Université Paris 7, Hôpital St. Louis, 75010 Paris, France

5 Department of Clinical Sciences/ENT, Umeå University, SE – 901 85 Umeå, Sweden

Correspondence to:

Linda Boldrup, email: [email protected]

Keywords: miRNA, circulating markers, NT-3, miR-150, squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue

Received: April 05, 2017    Accepted: September 13, 2017    Published: September 30, 2017


Despite intense research, squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue remains a devastating disease with a five-year survival of around 60%. Late detection and recurrence are the main causes for poor survival. The identification of circulating factors for early diagnosis and/or prognosis of cancer is a rapidly evolving field of interest, with the hope of finding stable and reliable markers of clinical significance. The aim of this study was to evaluate circulating miRNAs and proteins as potential factors for distinguishing patients with tongue squamous cell carcinoma from healthy controls. Array-based profiling of 372 miRNAs in plasma samples showed broad variations between different patients and did not show any evidence for their use in diagnosis of tongue cancer. Although one miRNA, miR-150, was significantly down-regulated in plasma from patients compared to controls. Surprisingly, the corresponding tumor tissue showed an up-regulation of miR-150. Among circulating proteins, 23 were identified as potential markers of squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. These findings imply that circulating proteins are a more promising source of biomarkers for tongue squamous cell carcinomas than circulating miRNAs. The data also highlight that circulating markers are not always directly associated with tumor cell properties.

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