Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 3 % of cancer patients. Early detection influences the therapeutic strategy and significantly improves patients’ survival rates. Stable existing circulating miRNAs could be a promising diagnostic biomarker.
Previously our team demonstrated the anti-tumor effect of miR-20b-5p, miR-30a-5p and miR-196a-5p in RCC tissue and cell lines. Here, based on 110 RCC patients and 110 health control, we investigated serum expression of these three miRNAs in the testing set and the validation set separately by using quantitative real-time PCR. A three-miRNA panel with high diagnostic efficiency was constructed. Correlations between these miRNAs and clinical parameters were investigated. Additionally, the TCGA dataset and bioinformatic analysis are used for the functional exploration of these miRNAs.
Serum expression levels of miR-20b-5p, miR-30a-5p were significantly reduced in RCC patients, while miR-196a-5p expression level was up-regulated (p < 0.001). miR-20b-5p, miR-30a-5p and miR-196a-5p had moderate diagnostic ability for RCC (AUC = 0.807, 0.766 and 0.719 in the testing set, respectively). The AUC of the three-miRNA panel was 0.949 in the testing set and 0.938 in the validation set. Specifically, the serum expression level of miR-196a-5p was significantly down-regulated in RCC patients with higher Fuhrman grade (p = 0.051). TCGA dataset analysis showed that the three-miRNA panel probably participated in RCC by targeting ITGA4 and NRP2.
The three-miRNA panel could serve as a promising non-invasive biomarker for RCC detection.

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