Urinary microRNA biomarkers for detecting the presence of esophageal cancer

Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 20;11(1):8508. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-87925-1.


Esophageal cancer (EC) including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and adenocarcinoma (EAC) generally exhibits poor prognosis; hence, a noninvasive biomarker enabling early detection is necessary. Age- and sex-matched 150 healthy controls (HCs) and 43 patients with ESCC were randomly divided into two groups: 9 individuals in the discovery cohort for microarray analysis and 184 individuals in the training/test cohort with cross-validation for qRT-PCR analysis. Using 152 urine samples (144 HCs and 8 EACs), we validated the urinary miRNA biomarkers for EAC diagnosis. Among eight miRNAs selected in the discovery cohort, urinary levels of five miRNAs (miR-1273f, miR-619-5p, miR-150-3p, miR-4327, and miR-3135b) were significantly higher in the ESCC group than in the HC group, in the training/test cohort. Consistently, these five urinary miRNAs were significantly different between HC and ESCC in both training and test sets. Especially, urinary miR-1273f and miR-619-5p showed excellent values of area under the curve (AUC) ≥ 0.80 for diagnosing stage I ESCC. Similarly, the EAC group had significantly higher urinary levels of these five miRNAs than the HC group, with AUC values of approximately 0.80. The present study established novel urinary miRNA biomarkers that can early detect ESCC and EAC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / urine
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / urine
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / pathology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs