Identification and evaluation of circulating small extracellular vesicle microRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers for patients with indeterminate pulmonary nodules


Zheng Di,Zhu Yuming,Zhang Jiyang,Zhang Wei,Wang Huizhen,Chen Hao,Wu Chunyan,Ni Jian,Xu Xiaoya,Nian Baoning,Chen Sheng,Wang Beibei,Li Xiaofang,Zhang Yanan,Zhang Jiatao,Zhong Wenzhao,Xiong Lei,Li Fugen,Zhang Dadong,Xu Jianfang,Jiang GeningORCID


Abstract Background The identification of indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs) following a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is a major challenge for early diagnosis of lung cancer. The inadequate assessment of IPNs’ malignancy risk results in a large number of unnecessary surgeries or an increased risk of cancer metastases. However, limited studies on non-invasive diagnosis of IPNs have been reported. Methods In this study, we identified and evaluated the diagnostic value of circulating small extracellular vesicle (sEV) microRNAs (miRNAs) in patients with IPNs that had been newly detected using LDCT scanning and were scheduled for surgery. Out of 459 recruited patients, 109 eligible patients with IPNs were enrolled in the training cohort (n = 47) and the test cohort (n = 62). An external cohort (n = 99) was used for validation. MiRNAs were extracted from plasma sEVs, and assessed using Small RNA sequencing. 490 lung adenocarcinoma samples and follow-up data were used to investigate the role of miRNAs in overall survival. Results A circulating sEV miRNA (CirsEV-miR) model was constructed from five differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs), showing 0.920 AUC in the training cohort (n = 47), and further identified in the test cohort (n = 62) and in an external validation cohort (n = 99). Among five DEMs of the CirsEV-miR model, miR-101-3p and miR-150-5p were significantly associated with better overall survival (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0069). The CirsEV-miR scores were calculated, which significantly correlated with IPNs diameters (p < 0.05), and were able to discriminate between benign and malignant PNs (diameter ≤ 1 cm). The expression patterns of sEV miRNAs in the benign, adenocarcinoma in situ/minimally invasive adenocarcinoma, and invasive adenocarcinoma subgroups were found to gradually change with the increase in aggressiveness for the first time. Among all DEMs of the three subgroups, five miRNAs (miR-30c-5p, miR-30e-5p, miR-500a-3p, miR-125a-5p, and miR-99a-5p) were also significantly associated with overall survival of lung adenocarcinoma patients. Conclusions Our results indicate that the CirsEV-miR model could help distinguish between benign and malignant PNs, providing insights into the feasibility of circulating sEV miRNAs in diagnostic biomarker development. Trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trials: ChiCTR1800019877. Registered 05 December 2018, Graphical Abstract


Shanghai Metropolitan Key Program


Springer Science and Business Media LLC


Pharmaceutical Science,Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology,Biomedical Engineering,Molecular Medicine,Medicine (miscellaneous),Bioengineering







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