Serum-based miRNAs in the prediction and detection of recurrence in melanoma patients

Nathaniel H. Fleming, Judy Zhong, Inês Pires Da Silva, Eleazar Vega Saenz De Miera, Bobbi Brady, Sung Won Han, Doug Hanniford, Jinhua Wang, Richard L. Shapiro, Eva Hernando, Iman Osman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Identification of primary melanoma patients at the highest risk of recurrence remains a critical challenge, and monitoring for recurrent disease is limited to costly imaging studies. We recently reported our array-based discovery of prognostic serum miRNAs in melanoma. In the current study, we examined the clinical utility of these serum-based miRNAs for prognosis as well as detection of melanoma recurrence. METHODS: Serum levels of 12 miRNAs were tested using qRT-PCR at diagnosis in 283 melanoma patients (training cohort, n=201; independent validation, n=82; median follow-up, 68.8 months). A refined miRNA signature was chosen and evaluated. We also tested the potential clinical utility of the miRNAs in early detection and monitoring of recurrence using multiple longitudinal samples (pre- and postrecurrence) in a subset of 82 patients (n=225). In addition, we integrated our miRNA signature with publicly available Cancer Genome Atlas data to examine the relevance of these miRNAs to melanoma biology. RESULTS: Four miRNAs (miR-150, miR-30d, miR-15b, and miR-425) in combination with stage separated patients by recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) and improved prediction of recurrence over stage alone in both the training and validation cohorts (training RFS and OS, P<.001; validation RFS, P<.001; OS, P=.005). Serum miR-15b levels significantly increased over time in recurrent patients (P<.001), adjusting for endogenous controls as well as age, sex, and initial stage. In nonrecurrent patients, miR-15b levels were not significantly changed with time (P =.17). CONCLUSIONS: Data demonstrate that serum miRNAs can improve melanoma patient stratification over stage and support further testing of miR-15b to guide patient surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Melanoma
  • MicroRNAs
  • Recurrence
  • Serum markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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