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Potential role of plasma miR-21 and miR-92a in distinguishing between irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and colorectal cancer

Elham Hassan, Abeer Sharaf El-Din Abd El-Rehim, Emad Farah Mohammed Kholef, Wael Abd-Elgwad Elsewify




Aim: This study aimed to investigate whether plasma miR-21 and miR-92a levels may be used to differentiate between patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC), and colorectal cancer (CRC).

Background: miRNA expression profiles are well characterized in CRC, but these expression profiles in UC and IBS remain promising. Screening of high-risk individuals for these diseases has substantial clinical benefits.

Methods: This was a case-control study. We quantified plasma miR-21 and miR-92a expression levels in 100 samples (37 with active UC, 33 with CRC, and 30 with IBS as well as 30 healthy controls) using real-time PCR. Their diagnostic performance for discriminating these diseases was assessed using receiver-operation characteristic curve (AUC-ROC).

Results: The studied miRNAs were differentially expressed among all participated groups. Plasma miR-21 and miR-92a levels exhibited significant upregulation in CRC as compared to IBS, UC, and healthy subjects. Both miRNAs were upregulated in the UC group as compared to IBS and healthy subjects. ROC analysis revealed promising diagnostic performance for miR-21 and miR-92a in discriminating UC from non-UC groups (IBS and healthy subjects) with AUCs of 0.844 and 0.979 respectively. It also distinguished between CRC and UC with AUCs of 0.968 and 0.887 respectively and with reasonable sensitivities and specificities.

Conclusion: Circulating miR-21 and miR-92a can be exploited not only as potential noninvasive biomarkers for detection of CRC, but also for differentiation between functional and organic colorectal disorders.

Keywords: miR-21, miR-92a, Colorectal cancer, Irritable bowel syndrome, Ulcerative colitis.

(Please cite as: Ahmed Hassan E, El-Din Abd El-Rehim AS, Mohammed Kholef EF, Abd-Elgwad Elsewify W. Potential role of plasma miR-21 and miR-92a in distinguishing between irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and colorectal cancer. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench 2020;13(2):147-154).


miR-21, miR-92a, Colorectal cancer, Irritable bowel syndrome, Ulcerative colitis.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/ghfbb.v13i2.1868