ObjectiveDetection of microRNA (miRNA) aberrations in human faeces is a new approach for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. The aim of this study was to characterise miR-20a in faeces as a non-invasive biomarker for diagnosis of CRC.
ResultsmiR-20a expression was significantly higher in the 40 CRC tumours compared to their respective adjacent normal tissues (P = 0.0065). Levels of miR-20a were also significantly higher in faecal samples from CRC patients (P < 0.0001). The area under receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve for miR-20a was 0.73, with a sensitivity of 55% and specificity of 82% for CRC patients compared with controls. No significant difference in the level of miR-20a was found between patients with proximal, distal, and rectal cancer. The use of antibiotics did not influence faecal miR-20a levels.
Patients and methodsmiR-20a was selected from an expression microarray containing 667 miRNAs. Further verification of miR-20a was performed in 40 pairs of primary CRC tissues, as well as 595 faecal samples (198 CRCs, 199 adenomas, and 198 healthy controls) using TaqMan probe based quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR).
ConclusionsFaecal-based miR-20a can be utilised as a potential non-invasive biomarker for CRC screening.