Genomewide Study of Salivary MicroRNAs for Detection of Oral Cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) in human saliva have recently demonstrated to be potential biomarkers for diagnosis purposes. However, lack of well-characterized/matched clinical groups and lack of suitable endogenous control (EC) for salivary extracellular miRNA detection and normalization are among the restrictions of applying salivary-based miRNA biomarker discovery. In the present study, we examined the differential expression pattern of miRNAs among 4 groups of subjects-including patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), patients with OSCC in remission (OSCC-R), patients with oral lichen planus, and healthy controls (HCs)-using a genomewide high-throughput miRNA microarray. First, we systematically screened 10 pooling samples and 34 individual samples of different groups to find a proper EC miRNA. We then investigated the genomewide expression patterns of differentially expressed miRNAs in saliva of different groups using NanoString nCounter miRNA expression assay and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, followed by construction of receiver operating characteristic curves to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. We identified miRNA-191 as a suitable EC miRNA with minimal intergroup and intragroup variability, and we used it for normalization. Of more than 700 miRNAs tested, 13 were identified as being significantly deregulated in saliva of OSCC patients compared to HCs: 11 miRNAs were underexpressed (miRNA-136, miRNA-147, miRNA-1250, miRNA-148a, miRNA-632, miRNA-646, miRNA668, miRNA-877, miRNA-503, miRNA-220a, miRNA-323-5p), and 2 miRNAs were overexpressed (miRNA-24, miRNA-27b). MiRNA-136 was underexpressed in both OSCC vs. HCs and OSCC vs. OSCC-R. MiRNA-27b levels were significantly higher in OSCC patients compared to those found in HCs, patients with OSCC-R, and patients with oral lichen planus and served as a characteristic biomarker of OSCC. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses showed that miRNA-27b could be a valuable biomarker for distinguishing OSCC patients from the other groups. Our novel findings established a reliable EC miRNA for salivary-based diagnostic and indicate that the salivary miRNA profiles are discriminatory in OSCC patients.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Res

altmetric score

  • 7.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Momen-Heravi, F., Trachtenberg, A. J., Kuo, W. P., & Cheng, Y. S.

citation count

  • 142

complete list of authors

  • Momen-Heravi, F||Trachtenberg, AJ||Kuo, WP||Cheng, YS

publication date

  • January 2014