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The Prognostic and Predictive Value of Melanoma-related MicroRNAs Using Tissue and Serum: A MicroRNA Expression Analysis

Stark MS, Klein K, Weide B, Haydu LE, Pflugfelder A, Tang YH, Palmer JM, Whiteman DC, Scolyer RA, Mann GJ, Thompson JF, Long GV, Barbour AP, Soyer HP, Garbe C, Herington A, Pollock PM, Hayward NK.

EBioMedicine. 2015 May 12;2(7):671-680. eCollection 2015 Jul.


The overall 5-year survival for melanoma is 91%. However, if distant metastasis occurs (stage IV), cure rates are < 15%. Hence, melanoma detection in earlier stages (stages I-III) maximises the chances of patient survival. We measured the expression of a panel of 17 microRNAs (miRNAs) (MELmiR-17) in melanoma tissues (stage III; n = 76 and IV; n = 10) and serum samples (collected from controls with no melanoma, n = 130; and patients with melanoma (stages I/II, n = 86; III, n = 50; and IV, n = 119)) obtained from biobanks in Australia and Germany. In melanoma tissues, members of the 'MELmiR-17' panel were found to be predictors of stage, recurrence, and survival. Additionally, in a minimally-invasive blood test, a seven-miRNA panel (MELmiR-7) detected the presence of melanoma (relative to controls) with high sensitivity (93%) and specificity (≥ 82%) when ≥ 4 miRNAs were expressed. Moreover, the 'MELmiR-7' panel characterised overall survival of melanoma patients better than both serum LDH and S100B (delta log likelihood = 11, p < 0.001). This panel was found to be superior to currently used serological markers for melanoma progression, recurrence, and survival; and would be ideally suited to monitor tumour progression in patients diagnosed with early metastatic disease (stages IIIa-c/IV M1a-b) to detect relapse following surgical or adjuvant treatment.