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Breast Cancer Research

, 12:R90

First Online: 03 November 2010Received: 19 May 2010Revised: 14 October 2010Accepted: 03 November 2010


IntroductionMicroRNAs miRs are interesting new diagnostic targets that may provide important insights into the molecular pathogenesis of breast cancer. Here we evaluated, for the first time, the feasibility and clinical utility of circulating miRs as biomarkers for the detection and staging of breast cancer.

MethodsThe relative concentrations of breast cancer-associated miR10b, miR34a, miR141 and miR155 were measured in the blood serum of 89 patients with primary breast cancer M0, n = 59 and metastatic disease M1, n = 30, and 29 healthy women by a TaqMan MicroRNA Assay.

ResultsThe relative concentrations of total RNA P = 0.0001 and miR155 P = 0.0001 in serum significantly discriminated M0-patients from healthy women, whereas miR10b P = 0.005, miR34a P = 0.001 and miR155 P = 0.008 discriminated M1-patients from healthy controls. In breast cancer patients, the changes in the levels of total RNA P = 0.0001, miR10b P = 0.01, miR34a P = 0.003 and miR155 P = 0.002 correlated with the presence of overt metastases. Within the M0-cohort, patients at advanced tumor stages pT3 to 4 had significantly more total RNA P = 0.0001 and miR34a P = 0.01 in their blood than patients at early tumor stages pT1 to 2.

ConclusionsThis pilot study provides first evidence that tumor-associated circulating miRs are elevated in the blood of breast cancer patients and associated with tumor progression.

AbbreviationsCtcycle threshold

CTCcirculating tumor cells

EMTepithelial to mesenchymal transition

ERestrogen receptor


M0primary breast cancer

M1metastatic disease

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-bcr2766 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Carina Roth - Brigitte Rack - Volkmar Müller - Wolfgang Janni - Klaus Pantel - Heidi Schwarzenbach


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