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posted on 07.10.2021, 04:25 by Vivek Kumar, Sameer Gupta, Amrita Chaurasia, Manisha Sachan

Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is one of the most lethal gynecological malignancies among women worldwide. Early diagnosis of EOC could help in ovarian cancer management. MicroRNAs, a class of small non-coding RNA molecules, are known to be involved in post-transcriptional regulation of ~60% of human genes. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs associated with disease progression are confined in lipid or lipoprotein and secreted as extracellular miRNA in body fluid such as plasma, serum, and urine. MiRNAs are stably present in the circulation and recently have gained an importance to serve as a minimally invasive biomarker for early detection of epithelial ovarian cancer.


Genome-wide methylation pattern of six EOC and two normal ovarian tissue samples revealed differential methylation regions of miRNA gene promoter through MeDIP-NGS sequencing. Based on log2FC and p-value, three hypomethylated miRNAs (miR-205, miR-200c, and miR-141) known to have a potential role in ovarian cancer progression were selected for expression analysis through qRT-PCR. The expression of selected miRNAs was analyzed in 115 tissue (85 EOC, 30 normal) and 65 matched serum (51 EOC and 14 normal) samples.


All three miRNAs (miR-205, miR-200c, and miR-141) showed significantly higher expression in both tissue and serum cohorts when compared with normal controls (p < 0.0001). The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of miR-205, miR-200c, and miR-141 has area under the curve (AUC) values of 87.6 (p < 0.0001), 78.2 (p < 0.0001), and 86.0 (p < 0.0001), respectively; in advance-stage serum samples, however, ROC has AUC values of 88.1 (p < 0.0001), 78.9 (p < 0.0001), and 86.7 (p < 0.0001), respectively, in early-stage serum samples. The combined diagnostic potential of the three miRNAs in advance-stage serum samples and early-stage serum samples has AUC values of 95.9 (95% CI: 0.925–1.012; sensitivity = 96.6% and specificity = 80.0%) and 98.1 (95% CI: 0.941–1.021; sensitivity = 90.5% and specificity = 100%), respectively.


Our data correlate the epigenetic deregulation of the miRNA genes with their expression. In addition, the miRNA panel (miR-205 + miR-200c + miR-141) has a much higher AUC, sensitivity, and specificity to predict EOC at an early stage in both tissue and serum samples.