Identification of serum miR-34a as a potential biomarker in acute myeloid leukemia

Cancer Biomark. 2018;22(4):799-805. doi: 10.3233/CBM-181381.


Background: MicroRNA-34a (miR-34a), as a tumor-suppressive miRNA, has been found to induce cell apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the diagnostic and prognostic significance of miR-34a in AML remains largely unknown.

Objective: We aimed to explore its associations with clinical characteristics and prognosis of AML patients.

Methods: This study detected serum miR-34a level in 117 diagnosed AML patients and 60 control subjects by using qRT-PCR, and results were compared to clinical features and patient outcome. Since cytogenetically-normal AML (CN-AML) has a good uniformity of cytogenetics and provides a perfect platform for detection of AML biomarkers, we further analyzed miR-34a expression in 56 CN-AML subjects.

Results: We found that miR-34a was significantly downregulated in AML and CN-AML patients. MiR-34a underexpression was commonly observed in AML patients with intermediate/poor risk cytogenetic, and M5 subtype. ROC analysis demonstrated that serum miR-34a could well identify AML/CN-AML patients from healthy individuals. More importantly, miR-34a expression was found negatively correlated with aggressive clinical variable, and served as an independent prognostic indicator. In addition, AML/CN-AML patients with low miR-34a expression displayed shorter overall and recurrence free survival.

Conclusions: Altogether, miR-34a might have an application as a diagnostic and prognostic indicator for AML patients.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia; biomarker; diagnosis; miR-34a; prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / blood*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MIRN34 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs