Integrated analysis of ascites and plasma extracellular vesicles identifies a miRNA-based diagnostic signature in ovarian cancer

Cancer Lett. 2022 Aug 28:542:215735. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2022.215735. Epub 2022 May 13.


Ovarian cancer is mostly diagnosed at advantaged stages due to the lack of early diagnostic biomarkers. The common metastasis pattern is characterized by peritoneal dissemination with a formation of malignant ascites. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are emerging as promising clinical biomarkers in liquid biopsy. Here, we aimed to investigate robust liquid biopsy-based EV miRNA biomarkers for ovarian cancer diagnosis and metastasis regulation. EVs were isolated from malignant ascites and plasma of ovarian cancer patients as well as the benign control counterparts of patients with benign gynecologic diseases. EV small RNA sequencing identified a panel of eight miRNAs (miR-1246, miR-1290, miR-483, miR-429, miR-34b-3p, miR-34c-5p, miR-145-5p, miR-449a) based on dysregulated miRNAs overlapped in the ascites and plasma subset. The ovarian cancer EV miRNA (OCEM) signature developed based on these eight miRNAs demonstrated high diagnostic accuracy in our in-house dataset and multiple public datasets across diverse clinical samples (blood, tissue and urine). In addition, malignant ascites-derived EVs could significantly facilitate the aggressive property of ovarian cancer cells and boost the growth of ascites-derived organoids. Notably, miR-1246 and miR-1290 shuttled in malignant ascites-derived EVs were identified to promote the invasion and migration of ovarian cancer cells through regulating a common target RORα.

Keywords: Invasion; Liquid biopsy; Migration; miR-1246; miR-1290.

MeSH terms

  • Ascites / diagnosis
  • Ascites / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MIRN145 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs