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Plasma specific miRNAs as predictive biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of glioma

Qiong Wang1, Pengcun Li2, Ailin Li1, Wei Jiang1, Hong Wang1, Jinhuan Wang1* and Keliang Xie3*

Author Affiliations

1 Tianjin Neurosurgery Institute, Tianjin Huanhu Hospital, 122 Qixiangtai Street, Tianjin, 300060, P.R. China

2 The Graduate School, Tianjin Medical University, 22 Qixiangtai Street, Tianjin, 300070, P. R. China

3 Department of Anesthesiology, General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, 300052, P. R. China

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Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2012, 31:97  doi:10.1186/1756-9966-31-97

Published: 22 November 2012



Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly malignant brain tumor with a poor prognosis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs, approximately 21–25 nucleotides in length. Recently, some researchers have demonstrated that plasma miRNAs are sensitive and specific biomarkers of various cancers. The primary aim of the study is to investigate whether miRNAs present in the plasma of GBM patients can be used as diagnostic biomarkers and are associated with glioma classification and clinical treatment.

Materials and Methods

Plasma samples were attained by venipuncture from 50 patients and 10 healthy donors. Plasma levels of miRNAs were determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.


The plasma levels of miR-21, miR-128 and miR-342-3p were significantly altered in GBM patients compared to normal controls and could discriminate glioma from healthy controls with high specificity and sensitivity. However, these three miRNAs were not significantly changed in patients with other brain tumors such as meningioma or pituitary adenoma. Furthermore, the plasma levels of these three miRNAs in GBM patients treated by operation and chemo-radiation almost revived to normal levels. Finally, we also demonstrated that miR-128 and miR-342-3p were positively correlated with histopathological grades of glioma.


These findings suggest that plasma specific miRNAs have potential use as novel biomarkers of glioma and may be useful in clinical management for glioma patients.

Glioma; MicroRNA; Plasma; Biomarker