Prostate cancer (PCa) screening currently relies on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal examination. However, recent large-scale studies have questioned the long-term efficacy of these tests, and biomarkers that accurately identify PCa are needed.
We analysed the levels of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in patients with elevated PSA who were diagnosed with either localised PCa (n=36) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, n=31) upon biopsy. Real-time RT-PCR with Taqman probes was used to measure plasma levels of miRNAs. To circumvent problems associated with circulating miRNA quantitation, we computed the expression ratios of upregulated and downregulated miRNAs.
The miR-106a/miR-130b and miR-106a/miR-223 ratios were significantly different between the biopsy-positive and BPH groups (P<0.0001), and yielded statistical power values that were >0.99. Both miRNA ratios were highly sensitive and more specific than PSA in discriminating localised PCa from BPH. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed area under curve values of 0.81 (miR-106a/miR-130b) and 0.77 (miR-106a/miR-223).
Testing for circulating miR-106a/miR-130b and miR-106a/miR-223 ratios may reduce the costs and morbidity of unnecessary biopsies and is feasible for large-scale screening, as it requires measuring only three miRNAs.
- prostate cancer screening