First Extensive Description of the Human Secreted miRNome Published; Results Call into Question Current Utility of miRNAs As Blood Sample Biomarkers for Early Stages of Cancer

In an elaborate study, biologists from the University of Luxembourg have determined that microRNAs are, contray to many hopes, not yet suitable for early diagnosis of skin cancer, as well as supposedly for other types of cancer, in blood samples. For the first time, these scientists analyzed all microRNAs in the serum of healthy people and thus provided a first complete image of the human “miRNome“ in blood samples. The researchers were even explicitly complimented by their reviewers for the rigorous work – a rare occasion. The article was published online on March 26, 2015 in an open-access article in Oncotarget. The article is titled “Comparison of a Healthy miRNome with Melanoma Patient miRNomes: Are microRNAs Suitable Serum Biomarkers for Cancer?” In order to detect cancer early, researchers all around the globe are seeking to identify molecules that might point to the emergence of a disease in blood samples early on. Promising among these so-called biomarkers are microRNAs, molecules that act as universal switches inside the body. According to Dr. Stephanie Kreis, Principal Lecturer of the research group “Signal Transduction” of the Life Sciences Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg, “microRNAs might be exceptional markers, because they are very stable and hence easily traceable, as well as tissue-specific.” In tissue samples, these “molecule snippets” can indeed act as a measure for early recognition of cancer - but is this also applicable to the more feasible and accessible blood sample?
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