Research Papers:

Comparison of a healthy miRNome with melanoma patient miRNomes: are microRNAs suitable serum biomarkers for cancer?

Christiane Margue, Susanne Reinsbach, Demetra Philippidou, Nicolas Beaume, Casandra Walters, Jochen G. Schneider, Dorothée Nashan, Iris Behrmann and Stephanie Kreis _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:12110-12127. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3661

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Christiane Margue1, Susanne Reinsbach1,*, Demetra Philippidou1,*, Nicolas Beaume1, Casandra Walters1, Jochen G. Schneider1, Dorothée Nashan1,2, Iris Behrmann1, Stephanie Kreis1

1 Life Sciences Research Unit, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

2 Klinikum Dortmund GmbH, Germany

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Stephanie Kreis, email:

Keywords: serum/tissue samples, circulating miRNAs, healthy miRNome, miRNA qPCR arrays, melanoma biomarkers

Received: January 21, 2015 Accepted: February 28, 2015 Published: March 26, 2015


MiRNAs are increasingly recognized as biomarkers for the diagnosis of cancers where they are profiled from tumor tissue (intracellular miRNAs) or serum/plasma samples (extracellular miRNAs). To improve detection of reliable biomarkers from blood samples, we first compiled a healthy reference miRNome and established a well-controlled analysis pipeline allowing for standardized quantification of circulating miRNAs. Using whole miRNome and custom qPCR arrays, miRNA expression profiles were analyzed in 126 serum, whole blood and tissue samples of healthy volunteers and melanoma patients and in primary melanocyte and keratinocyte cell lines. We found characteristic signatures with excellent prognostic scores only in late stage but not in early stage melanoma patients. Upon comparison of melanoma tissue miRNomes with matching serum samples, several miRNAs were identified to be exclusively tissue-derived (miR-30b-5p, miR-374a-5p and others) while others had higher expression levels in serum (miR-3201 and miR-122-5p). Here we have compiled a healthy and widely applicable miRNome from serum samples and we provide strong evidence that levels of cell-free miRNAs only change significantly at later stages of melanoma progression, which has serious implications for miRNA biomarker studies in cancer.

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