Discovery of circulating microRNAs associated with human prostate cancer using a mouse model of disease

Luke A. Selth, Scott Townley, Joanna L. Gillis, Aleksandra M. Ochnik, Krisna Murti, Robyn J. Macfarlane, Kim N. Chi, Villis R. Marshall, Wayne D. Tilley, Lisa M. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging as useful non-invasive markers of disease. The objective of this study was to use a mouse model of prostate cancer as a tool to discover serum miRNAs that could be assessed in a clinical setting. Global miRNA profiling identified 46 miRNAs at significantly altered levels (p ≤ 0.05) in the serum of TRansgenic Adenocarcinoma of Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) mice with advanced prostate cancer compared to healthy controls. A subset of these miRNAs with known human homologues were validated in an independent cohort of mice and then measured in serum from men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC; n = 25) or healthy men (n = 25). Four miRNAs altered in mice, mmu-miR-141, mmu-miR-298, mmu-miR-346 and mmu-miR-375, were also found to be at differential levels in the serum of men with mCRPC. Three of these (hsa-miR-141, hsa-miR-298 and hsa-miR-375) were upregulated in prostate tumors compared with normal prostate tissue, suggesting that they are released into the blood as disease progresses. Moreover, the intra-tumoral expression of hsa-miR-141 and hsa-miR-375 were predictors of biochemical relapse after surgery. This study is the first to demonstrate that specific serum miRNAs are common between human prostate cancer and a mouse model of the disease, highlighting the potential of such models for the discovery of novel biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-661
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Aug 2012


  • biomarker
  • microRNA
  • mouse model
  • prostate cancer
  • serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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