Purpose: The use of extracellular vesicles (EVs) from body fluids as "liquid biopsies" is emerging as a promising approach for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic monitoring of cancer patients. MicroRNA-155 (miR155), a non-coding transcript of the B-cell integration cluster (BIC) gene, has been reported to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of several types of hematologic malignancies (HMs) in which high miR155 levels have been found. At yet, however, the EV miR155 level and its putative clinical relevance in sera of HM patients have not been reported.
Methods: EVs from sera of representative patients with eight different HMs and healthy subjects (controls) were isolated using differential centrifugation. The identity and quality of the EVs were verified by atomic force and transmission electron microscopy. The EV miR155 levels were measured by quantitative RT-PCR. The sensitivity, specificity and area under the curve (AUC) of differences in EV miR155 levels were determined using ROC curve analyses.
Results: We found that the EV miR155 levels were significantly higher in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) cases compared to controls. Conversely, we found that the EV miR155 levels were significantly lower in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and multiple myeloma (MM) cases. No differences were found in follicular lymphoma (FL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or Hodgkin's Lymphoma (HL) cases compared to controls. EV miR155 ROC curve analyses revealed significantly different patterns in CLL and AML cases compared to controls, and in AML cases compared to MDS cases (p = 0.004, p = 0.01 and p = 0.04, respectively). In addition, we found that high EV miR155 levels correlated with high white blood cell counts in AML patients.
Conclusion: Our data indicate that EV miR155 may serve as an attractive new, non-invasive diagnostic biomarker in human hematologic malignancies.
Keywords: Acute myeloid leukemia; Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Extracellular vesicles; Myelodysplastic syndrome; Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia; miR155.