Serum miR-20a and miR-486 are potential biomarkers for discriminating colorectal neoplasia: A pilot study

J Cancer Res Ther. 2018;14(7):1572-1577. doi: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_1198_16.


Aim: Recent advances in circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) as noninvasive biomarkers have provided promising prospect in detecting colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the capability of miRNAs for detecting colorectal neoplasia (CRN, including precancerous lesions and curable stage CRCs) remains unclear. This study aimed to identify the potential of serum miRNAs (miR-20a, miR-486, miR-92a, and miR-135b) selected from the literature for discriminating CRN patients.

Materials and methods: The serum samples from 46 CRN patients and 33 healthy controls were analyzed with quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Serum miR-20a and miR-486 were significantly downregulated in CRN patients compared to that of in healthy controls (fold change = 0.697 and 0.696, P = 0.01 and 0.05, respectively). The serum level of miR-92a was not significantly different between two groups, while miR-135b level in serum was too low to be accurately quantified. In addition, serum miR-486 level was much more downregulated in tubulovillous adenoma and high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia patients than that of in healthy controls. For miR-20a and miR-486, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for discriminating CRN patients were 0.676 and 0.629, respectively, while their combined value was 0.698. No significant correlation was observed between miR-20a and miR-486 serum levels with age, gender, location, or lesion size.

Conclusion: The results suggested that serum miR-20a and miR-486 could be potential noninvasive biomarkers for identifying CRN patients.

Keywords: Colorectal neoplasia; microRNA; potential biomarker; serum.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circulating MicroRNA*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pilot Projects
  • ROC Curve
  • Tumor Burden


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Circulating MicroRNA
  • MIRN20a microRNA, human
  • MIRN486 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs