Advances in circulating microRNAs as diagnostic and prognostic markers for ovarian cancer

Cancer Biol Med. 2013 Sep;10(3):123-30. doi: 10.7497/j.issn.2095-3941.2013.03.001.


Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal malignant gynecological tumors. More than 70% of patients with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at advanced stage. The 5-year survival in patients with advanced ovarian cancer is less than 30% because of the lack of effective biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and personalized treatment. MicroRNA (miR) is a class of small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression primarily through post-transcriptional repression. Many studies on tissue miR in ovarian cancer have been carried out and show great potential in clinical practice. However, tissue samples are not easily available because sampling causes injury. Researchers have started to focus on plasma/serum miR, assuming that blood samples may replace tissue samples in miR research in the future. Plasma/serum miR research is still in its early stages. Studies on its function in the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer have achieved some progress, but plasma/serum miR profiling for prognosis and personalized treatment of ovarian cancer remains unknown. A thorough understanding of the function of plasma/serum miR in ovarian cancer will facilitate early diagnosis and improve treatment for ovarian cancer.

Keywords: Ovarian neoplasms; biological markers; early diagnosis; microRNAs.

Publication types

  • Review