New biomarkers in peripheral blood of patients with ovarian cancer: high expression levels of miR-16-5p, miR-17-5p, and miR-638

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2021 Aug 9. doi: 10.1007/s00404-021-06138-z. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Ovarian cancer is one of the most fatal gynecologic malignities. miR-16-5p, miR-17-5p, and miR-638 genes were found to have been associated with ovarian cancer in accordance with the data obtained from the previous microarray research performed by Tuncer et al. (J Ovarian Res 13(1):99, 2020). The expression levels of these miRNAs in the peripheral blood samples of 142 ovarian cancer patients, and 97 healthy controls were investigated for performing the validation, and to identify whether these genes were the possible biomarkers to be used in the early diagnosis of high-risk ovarian cancer patients, and in the prognosis of patients.

Methods: The miRNA expression analysis was performed using the miRNA-specific cDNA synthesis, and real-time PCR methods following the RNA isolation from the peripheral blood lymphocytes.

Results: miR-16-5p, miR-17-5p, and miR-638 miRNA gene expression levels were found to have twofold higher expression levels in patient groups compared with the gene expression levels in healthy controls, and were statistically significant (p < 0.05). In addition, the comparison of the miRNA expression levels with the clinical data of patients showed that there was a significant difference with smoking history and the increased expression level of miR-17-5 (p: 0.007). There was a significant difference between the increased expression level of miR-638 with the locally advanced stage, and abdominal/pelvic metastatic patients (p: 0.03).

Conclusions: The obtained data suggest that miR-16-5p, miR-17-5p, and miR-638 molecules might be the noninvasive biomarkers in identifying the ovarian cancer. However, the investigation and monitoring of the changeability of these biomarkers in benign ovarian diseases, and during the treatment must be performed in future studies for identifying the accurate diagnostic, and prognostic features of miRNAs.

Keywords: Biomarker; Ovarian cancer; miR-16-5p; miR-17-5p; miR-638.