Serum miR-21 and miR-125b as markers predicting neoadjuvant chemotherapy response and prognosis in stage II/III breast cancer

Hum Pathol. 2017 Jun:64:44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2017.03.016. Epub 2017 Apr 12.


The predictive value of serum miRNAs (ser-miRNA) for the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) and the prognosis of breast cancer patients were investigated in the current study. The study included 118 stage II/III breast cancer patients and 30 healthy adult women. Peripheral blood was drawn from participants before the start (baseline [BL]), at the end of the second cycle (first evaluation during NCT [FEN]), and at the end of NCT (second evaluation during NCT [SEN]). The expression of ser-miRNAs was examined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and their association with chemotherapy response and prognosis was analyzed. MiR-19a, miR-21, miR-125b, miR-155, miR-205, and miR-373 were significantly up-regulated in the serum of breast cancer patients at BL, miR-451 was significantly down-regulated, and miR-122 was unchanged compared with the levels in healthy women. The expression of ser-miR-125b and the changes of ser-miR-21 expression during NCT were associated with chemotherapy response and disease-free survival (DFS). In chemotherapy responders, ser-miR-125b expression was lower than that of non-responders at BL, FEN, and SEN, and ser-miR-21 levels decreased from BL to FEN and from BL to SEN. Survival analysis showed that patients with lower ser-miR-125b expression at BL, FEN, and SEN had favorable DFS, and those with decreased ser-miR-21 expression from BL to FEN and from BL to SEN had better DFS. In conclusion, ser-miR-21 and ser-miR-125b were identified as novel, noninvasive predictive markers for NCT response and prognosis in breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Prognosis; miR-125b; miR-21.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • ROC Curve
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MIRN125 microRNA, human
  • MIRN21 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs