Circulating microRNAs as potential biomarkers for endometriosis

Fertil Steril. 2015 May;103(5):1252-60.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.02.013. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


Objective: To evaluate whether microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with endometriosis are detectable in the circulation and could serve as potential noninvasive biomarkers for endometriosis.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: University hospital.

Patient(s): Twenty-four women with endometriosis and 24 women without the disease (controls).

Intervention(s): Serum samples collected from women undergoing laparoscopy for endometriosis and other benign gynecologic disease.

Main outcome measure(s): Total RNA extracted from serum and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to determine levels of miRNA let-7a-f and miR-135a,b.

Result(s): The levels of circulating let-7b and miR-135a were statistically significantly decreased in women with endometriosis compared with controls, and let-7d and 7f showed a trend toward down-regulation. Let-7b expression strongly correlated with serum CA-125 levels and showed the highest area under the curve of 0.691. When the patients were analyzed according to phase of the menstrual cycle, the expression of let-7b, 7c, 7d, and 7e was statistically significantly lower in the women with endometriosis during the proliferative phase. Using a logistic regression model, we evaluated the diagnostic power of differently expressed miRNAs; the combination of let-7b, let-7d, and let-7f during the proliferative phase yielded the highest area under the curve value of 0.929 in discriminating endometriosis from controls.

Conclusion(s): Several circulating miRNAs are differentially expressed in the sera of women with endometriosis compared with controls. The combination of serum let-7b, 7d, and 7f levels during the proliferative phase may serve as a diagnostic marker for endometriosis.

Keywords: Biomarker; circulating miRNAs; diagnosis; endometriosis; let-7.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Endometriosis / blood
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis*
  • Endometriosis / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • MicroRNAs / blood
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Young Adult


  • Genetic Markers
  • MicroRNAs
  • mirnlet7 microRNA, human