Serum microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to have potential for cancer diagnosis. The main objective of the present study was to identify a novel serum miRNA biomarker from patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Microarray analysis of miRNA expression was performed using paired pre-operative and post-operative serum from 10 CRC patients. Expression of two miRNAs (let-7a and miR-199a-3p) was significantly decreased in the post-operative serum when compared to levels in the pre-operative serum (P=0.015 and 0.029, respectively). Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) confirmed the decrease in the miRNAs in an extended number (n=30) of paired serum samples. Next, we examined the serum let-7a level in 32 non-cancer patients and 84 CRC patients but we found no significant difference (P=0.120). In contrast, miR199a-3p expression was significantly higher in the CRC patients than that in the non-cancer patients (P=0.016). Furthermore, clinical and pathological survey indicated that high expression of miR-199a-3p was significantly associated with deep wall invasion. Our data suggest that circulating miR-199a-3p could be a novel serum biomarker for CRC.
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