Potential of miRNAs in urinary extracellular vesicles for management of active surveillance in prostate cancer patients

Br J Cancer. 2021 Nov 22. doi: 10.1038/s41416-021-01598-1. Online ahead of print.


Background: Active surveillance is an alternative to radical treatment for patients with low-risk prostate cancer, which could also benefit some patients with intermediate risk. We have investigated the use of miRNA in urinary extracellular vesicles to stratify these patients.

Methods: NGS was performed to profile the miRNAs from small urinary extracellular vesicles in a cohort of 70 patients with prostate cancer ISUP Grade 1, 2 or 3. The most promising candidates were then analysed by RT-qPCR in a new cohort of 60 patients.

Results: NGS analysis identified nine miRNAs differentially expressed in at least one of the comparisons. The largest differences were found with miR-1290 (Grade 3 vs. 1), miR-320a-3p (Grade 3 vs. 2) and miR-155-5p (Grade 2 vs. 1). Combinations of 2-3 miRNAs were able to differentiate between two ISUP grades with an AUC 0.79-0.88. RT-qPCR analysis showed a similar trend for miR-186-5p and miR-30e-5p to separate Grade 3 from 2, and miR-320a-3p to separate Grade 2 from 1.

Conclusions: Using NGS, we have identified several miRNAs that discriminate between prostate cancer patients with ISUP Grades 1, 2 and 3. Moreover, miR-186-5p, miR-320a-3p and miR-30e-5p showed a similar behaviour in an independent cohort using an alternative analytical method. Our results show that miRNAs from urinary vesicles can be potentially useful as liquid biopsies for active surveillance.