Circulating microRNAs as non-invasive biomarkers for breast cancer


Session type:

David Guttery1, Karen Page1, Lindsay Primrose1, Kevin Blighe1, Stephanie Marchese2, Allison Hills2, Laura Woodley2, Suzy Cleator2, Carlo Palmieri2, Justin Stebbing2, Charles Coombes2, Jacqui Shaw1, Joe Esland1
1University of Leicester, Leicester, UK, 2Imperial College, London, UK


Development of blood based tests for monitoring breast cancer is of great interest. As circulating microRNAs (miRNA) have emerged as a useful non-invasive biomarker in a number of cancers, we aimed to identify miRNA biomarkers of breast cancer presence.


Circulating miRNAs were extracted from 200 ┬Ál plasma of 16 healthy females, 42 postmenopausal patients with ER+ primary breast cancer and 10 post-surgical breast cancer patients. MiRNAs were extracted using the Qiagen miRNeasy Serum/Plasma kit. Healthy controls were spilt into 2 pools, cancer samples were split into 4 pools and post-surgical samples were in 1 pool (8 - 10 samples in each), and each pool analysed using TaqMan Low-Density Array (pool A v2.1).


A two-tailed Spearmans analysis showed high correlation of the two healthy control pools, as well as high correlation between the 4 cancer pools (p<0.0001 for both). Analysis of 384 miRNAs gave a number of possibly candidates as biomarkers for breast cancer presence. Three miRNAs (hsa-miR-A, hsa-miR-B and hsa-miR-C) were absent in the two pools of healthy female controls, but were detected at significantly high levels in patients with ER+ breast cancer. Hsa-miR-C returned to base levels in the 10 post-surgical breast cancer patients, whereas hsa-miR-A, hsa-miR-B remained at significantly high levels.


The use of TLDA cards can be reproducibly performed, highlighting that circulating miRNAs are promising biomarkers for detection and monitoring of ER+ breast cancer. Validation in a larger series is ongoing in our group.