Circulating miR-146a expression as a non-invasive predictive biomarker for acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 23;11(1):22783. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02257-4.


Dysregulation of non-coding microRNAs during the course of tumor development, invasion and/or progression to the distant organs, makes them a promising candidate marker for the diagnosis of cancer and associated malignancies. This exploratory study aims at evaluating the usefulness of plasma concentration of circulating mir-146a as a non-invasive biomarker for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Total RNA including miRNA was isolated from 110 plasma samples of patients (n = 66), healthy controls (n = 24) and follow up (n = 20) cases and reverse transcribed. Relative concentrations were assessed using real-time quantitative PCR and fold-change was calculated by 2-ΔΔCt method. Finally, relative concentrations were correlated to clinicopathological factors. Patients (n = 66) were analyzed to determine fold expression of miR-146a in plasma samples of ALL. Before chemotherapy, pediatric (n = 42) and adult (n = 24) showed overexpression of miR-146a compared with healthy controls (P < 0.0001). There was no effect of age and gender on mir-146a expression in plasma. mirR-146a expression was independent of clinical and hematological features. Moreover, miR-146a levels in plasma of paired samples (n = 20) after treatment showed significant decrease in expression (P < 0.001). Expression of plasma miR-146a may be utilized as non-invasive marker to diagnose and predict prognosis in pediatric and adult patients with ALL. Moreover predicted targets may be utilized for ALL therapy in future.