Serum miR-19a Predicts Resistance to FOLFOX Chemotherapy in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Cases

  • Chen, Qi (Department of Medical Oncology, West China Hospital, University of Sichuan) ;
  • Xia, Hong-Wei (Laboratory of Signal Transduction & Molecular Targeted Therapy, University of Sichuan) ;
  • Ge, Xiao-Jun (Laboratory of Signal Transduction & Molecular Targeted Therapy, University of Sichuan) ;
  • Zhang, Yu-Chen (Laboratory of Signal Transduction & Molecular Targeted Therapy, University of Sichuan) ;
  • Tang, Qiu-Lin (Laboratory of Signal Transduction & Molecular Targeted Therapy, University of Sichuan) ;
  • Bi, Feng (Department of Medical Oncology, West China Hospital, University of Sichuan)
  • Published : 2013.12.31


Background: Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer-related death. FOLFOX is the most common regimen used in the first-line chemotherapy in advanced colorectal cancer, but only half of the patients respond to this regimen and we have almost no clue in predicting resistance in such first-line application. Methods: To explore the potential molecular biomarkers predicting the resistance of FOLFOX regimen as the first-line treatment in advanced colorectal cancer, we screened microRNAs in serum samples from drug-responsive and drug-resistant patients by microarrays. Then differential microRNA expression was further validated in an independent population by reverse transcription and quantitative real-time PCR. Results: 62 microRNAs expressing differentially with fold-change >2 were screened out by microarray analysis. Among them, 5 (miR-221, miR-222, miR-122, miR-19a, miR-144) were chosen for further validation in an independent population (N=72). Our results indicated serum miR-19a to be significantly up-regulated in resistance-phase serum (p=0.009). The ROC curve analysis showed that the sensitivity of serum miR-19a to discriminate the resistant patients from the response ones was 66.7%, and the specificity was 63.9% when the AUC was 0.679. We additionally observed serum miR-19a had a complementary value for cancer embryonic antigen (CEA). Stratified analysis further revealed that serum miR-19a predicted both intrinsic and acquired drug resistance. Conclusions: Our findings confirmed aberrant expression of serum miR-19a in FOLFOX chemotherapy resistance patients, suggesting serum miR-19a could be a potential molecular biomarker for predicting and monitoring resistance to first-line FOLFOX chemotherapy regimens in advanced colorectal cancer patients.


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