Identification of Thyroid-Associated Serum microRNA Profiles and Their Potential Use in Thyroid Cancer Follow-Up

Francesca Rosignolo, Marialuisa Sponziello, Laura Giacomelli, Diego Russo, Valeria Pecce, Marco Biffoni, Rocco Domenico Alfonso Bellantone, Celestino Pio Lombardi, Livia Lamartina, Giorgio Grani, Cosimo Durante, Sebastiano Filetti*, Antonella Verrienti

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Trends toward more conservative management of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) diminish the primacy of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) assays as a posttreatment surveillance tool.Objective: To identify thyroid tumor-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) in the serum with potential for development as unique biomarkers of PTC recurrence.Methods: We measured expression of 754 miRNAs in serum samples collected from 11 patients with PTC before and 30 days after thyroidectomy. Major candidates were then re-evaluated by absolute quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis in an independent cohort of patients with PTC (n = 44) or benign nodules and 20 healthy controls (HCs). The 2 miRNAs most significantly associated with thyroid tumors were then assessed in matched serum samples (before and 30 days and 1 to 2 years after surgery) from the 20 PTC patients with complete follow-up datasets and results correlated with American Thyroid Association (ATA) responses to therapy.Results: Eight miRNAs (miR-221-3p, miR-222-3p, miR-146a-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-146b-5p, miR-191-5p, miR-103a-3p, and miR-28-3p) displayed levels in prethyroidectomy serum samples from patients with PTC that significantly exceeded those measured after thyroidectomy and those found in samples from HCs. The 2 most promising candidates-miR-146a-5p and miR-221-3p-were further analyzed in the 20 PTC patients mentioned earlier. Serum levels of both miRNAs after 1 to 2 years of follow-up were consistent with ATA responses to therapy in all patients, including 2 with structural evidence of disease whose Tg assays remained negative (<1 ng/mL).Conclusion: miR-146a-5p and miR-221-3p hold remarkable promise as serum biomarkers for posttreatment monitoring of PTC patients, especially when Tg assay results are uninformative. Copyright (c) 2017 by the Endocrine Society This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13-13
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • biomarker
  • circulating
  • follow-up
  • microRNA
  • papillary thyroid carcinoma


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