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.
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