A pilot study reveals the potential of miR-31-3p and miR-196a-5p as non-invasive biomarkers in advanced laryngeal cancer

Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2021 Jun 30;63(3):355-364. doi: 10.3897/folmed.63.e55346.


Introduction: Recently, miRNAs have become popular molecules used as non-invasive biomarkers in cancer diseases.

Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the expression of four miRNAs isoforms: miR-31-3p, miR-196a-5p, miR-210-3p and miR-424-5p in plasma and tissue samples from patients with advanced laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) and healthy controls.

Materials and methods: Fresh-frozen tumour and normal laryngeal tissue as well as plasma samples were obtained from 22 patients diagnosed with advanced LSCC. The control group included plasma samples from 21 cancer-free volunteers. Total RNA (including miRNAs) extraction, reverse transcription and real time qPCR were the laboratory techniques used in the study. The obtained results were analyzed using SPSS software v. 23.

Results: We found that miR-31-3p, miR-196a-5p, and miR-210-3p levels were significantly elevated in laryngeal tumour tissue, but only the levels of miR-31-3p and miR-196a-5p were significantly upregulated in the plasma LSCC target group. Positive correlation was obtained for miR-31-3p (rs=0.443, p=0.039) and miR-196a-5p (rs=0.548; p=0.008) between plasma and adjacent tumour tissue LSCC samples. ROC analyses were used to evaluate the discriminative power of both miRNAs alone and in combination. The combination of miR-31-3p and miR-196a-5p showed best results with AUC=0.978 (95% CI: 0.945-1.000, p.

Keywords: LSCC; laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma; miRNAs; non-invasive biomarker; plasma.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / supply & distribution*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MIRN31 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs