Identification of noninvasive blood-based biomarkers is of utmost importance for the early diagnosis and predicting prognosis of advance stage lung cancer patients. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) has been implicated in numerous diseases, however, their role as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in Indian lung cancer patients has not been evaluated yet.
For the identification of differentially expressed miRNAs in the serum of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, we performed small RNA sequencing. We validated the expression of 10 miRNAs in 75 NSCLC patients and 40 controls using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). miRNA expression was correlated with survival and therapeutic response.
We identified 16 differentially expressed miRNAs in the serum of NSCLC patients as compared to controls. We observed significant downregulation of miR-15a-5p, miR-320a, miR-25-3p, miR-192-5p, let-7d-5p, let-7e-5p, miR-148a-3p, and miR-92a-3p in the serum of NSCLC patients. The expression of miR-375 and miR-10b-5p was significantly downregulated in lung squamous cell carcinoma patients than controls. The expression of miR-320a, miR-25-3p, and miR-148a-3p significantly correlated with stage. None of the miRNAs were correlated with survival outcome and therapeutic response.
We conclude that the relative abundance of miRNAs in serum may be explored for the development of miRNA-based assays for better diagnosis and prognosis of NSCLC. Moreover, further studies are warranted to elucidate the role of some of the less explored miRNAs, such as miR-375 and miR-320a, in the pathogenesis of NSCLC.

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