Combination of plasma microRNAs with serum CA19-9 for early detection of pancreatic cancer

International Journal of Cancer, 04/20/2012

Liu J et al. – Plasma miRNAs were effective for distinguishing pancreatic cancer (PCa) from non–PCa (normal+CP). The combination of miR–16, miR–196a and CA19–9 was more effective for PCa diagnosis, especially in early tumor screening.


  • Plasma RNAs were extracted from 140PCa patients, 111 chronic pancreatitis (CP) patients and 68 normal controls, and the relative abundances of seven miRNAs (miR-16, 21, 155, 181a, 181b, 196a and 210) were measured using real-time PCR.
  • Their diagnostic utility for PCa and correlation with clinical characteristics were analyzed.
  • All seven miRNAs were significantly aberrantly upregulated in the PCa group compared with both the CP and normal groups, between which only four miRNAs (miR-155, 181a, 181b and 196a) were significantly different.


  • Logistic modeling proved that only miR-16 and miR-196a possessed an independent role in discriminating PCa from normal and CP.
  • Furthermore, after including serum CA19-9 in the logistic model, the combination of miR-16, miR-196a and CA19-9 was more effective for discriminating PCa from non-PCa (normal+CP) (AUC-ROC, 0.979; sensitivity, 92.0%; specificity, 95.6%), and for discriminating PCa from CP (AUC-ROC, 0.956; sensitivity, 88.4%; specificity, 96.3%) compared with the miRNA panel (miR-16+miR-196a) or CA19-9 alone.
  • Most significantly, the combination was effective at identification of tumors in Stage 1 (85.2%).

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