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Serum Exosomal miR-125b Is a Novel Prognostic Marker For Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide with high mortality. Circulating miRNA has been demonstrated as a novel noninvasive biomarker for many tumors. A new study by collaborators in China sought to investigate the potential of circulating miR-125b as a prognostic marker of HCC. In the work, exosomes were extracted from serum samples collected from two independent cohorts: cohort 1: HCC (n=30), chronic hepatitis B (CHB, n=30), liver cirrhosis (LC, n=30); cohort 2: HCC (n=128). The researchers found that miR-125b levels were remarkably increased in exosomes compared to those in serum from patients with CHB, LC, and HCC (P<0.01, respectively). However, miR-125b levels in exosomes and the serum from HCC patients were inferior to that of CHB (P<0.01 and P=0.06) and LC patients (P<0.01 for all). Additionally, miR-125b levels in exosomes were associated with tumor number (P=0.02), encapsulation (P<0.01), and TNM stage (P<0.01). In TMN, T describes the size of the original tumor and whether it has invaded nearby tissue; N describes nearby (regional) lymph nodes that are involved; and M describes distant metastasis. Kaplan–Meier analysis indicated that HCC patients with lower exosomal miR-125b levels showed reduced time to recurrence (TTR) (P<0.01) and overall survival (OS) (P<0.01). Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed that miR-125b level in exosomes, but not in serum, was an independent predictive factor for TTR (P<0.001) and OS (P=0.011). Exosomal miR-125b levels predicted the recurrence and survival of HCC patients with an area under the ROC curve of 0.739 (83.0% sensitivity and 67.9% specificity) and 0.702 (82.5% sensitivity and 53.4% specificity). In conclusion, the researchers believe that exosomal miR-125b could serve as a promising prognostic marker for HCC. The results of the new work were published online on August 1, 2017 in Dovepress. The article, by collaborating authors in China, is titled “Serum Exosomal miR-125b Is a Novel Prognostic Marker for Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”

[Dovepress abstract]