Circulating plasma MicroRNAs as diagnostic markers for NSCLC

Jinpao Hou, Fei Meng, Lawrence W.C. Chan, William C.S. Cho, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016 Hou, Meng, Chan, Cho and Wong. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths all over the world, in which non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for ~85% of cases. It is well known that microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in various cellular processes, mediating post-transcriptional silencing either by mRNA degradation through binding the 3' UTR of target mRNA or by translational inhibition of the protein. In the past decade, miRNAs have also been increasingly identified in biological fluids such as human serum or plasma known as circulating or cell-free miRNAs, and may function as non-invasive diagnostic markers for various cancer types including NSCLC. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are those cells that are shed from solid tumors and then migrate into the circulation. However, reports concerning the roles of CTCs are quite rare, which may be attributed to the difficulties in the enrichment and detection of CTCs in the circulation. Although, there have been reassuring advances in identifying circulating miRNA-panels, which are assumed to be of diagnostic value in NSCLC early stage, some issues remain concerning the reliability of using miRNA panels as a diagnostic tool for NSCLC. In the current review, we are aiming at providing insights into the miRNAs biology, the mechanisms of miRNAs release into the bloodstream, cell-free miRNAs as the diagnostic markers for NSCLC and the current limitations of CTCs as diagnostic markers in NSCLC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number193
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016


  • Circulating miRNAs
  • CTCs detection
  • Diagnostic value
  • MiRNA panel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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