The Journal of molecular diagnostics : JMD

Plasma components affect accuracy of circulating cancer-related microRNA quantitation.

PMID 22154918


Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as candidate biomarkers of various diseases and conditions including malignancy and pregnancy. This approach requires sensitive and accurate quantitation of miRNA concentrations in body fluids. Herein we report that enzyme-based miRNA quantitation, which is currently the mainstream approach for identifying differences in miRNA abundance among samples, is skewed by endogenous serum factors that co-purify with miRNAs and anticoagulant agents used during collection. Of importance, different miRNAs were affected to varying extent among patient samples. By developing measures to overcome these interfering activities, we increased the accuracy, and improved the sensitivity of miRNA detection up to 30-fold. Overall, the present study outlines key factors that prevent accurate miRNA quantitation in body fluids and provides approaches that enable faithful quantitation of miRNA abundance in body fluids.