Circulating miRNAs as novel potential biomarkers for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis: A meta-analysis update

Fen Liu, Tian Tian, Li Li Xia, Yuanjie Ding, Robert T. Cormier, Yan He

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23 Scopus citations


Early detection of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is urgently needed to reduce the high morbidity and mortality of disease. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are promising molecular biomarkers for ESCC prediction.We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis to systematically evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of circulating miRNAs in diagnosis of ESCC patients. Eligible studies were identified and assessed for quality employing multiple search strategies. Summary estimates for sensitivity, specificity, and other measures of accuracy of miRNAs in the diagnosis of ESCC were pooled using the bivariate random effects model.Atotal of 27 studies from 11 published articles were included in the meta-analysis. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, and diagnostic odds ratio of circulating miRNAs for the diagnosis of ESCC were 79.9% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 76.2%-83.1%), 81.3% (95% CI: 75.7-85.9), 4.27 (95%CI: 3.27-5.58), 0.25 (95% CI: 0.21-0.29), and 17.29 (95% CI: 12.01-24.86), respectively. The area under the summary receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.84-0.90). The subgroup analyses based on research country (China vs. Japan), specimen type (plasma vs. serum), miRNAs profiling (single vs. multiple), and test method (screening vs. candidate; Taqman vs. SYBR) indicated no significant difference in the diagnostic accuracy of each subgroup. Collectively, our findings indicate that circulating miRNAs have significant potential to be used as noninvasive biomarkers for early detection of ESCC. Moreover, the subgroup analyses demonstrated the feasibility of using blood miRNAs as an ESCC diagnostic biomarker in Japanese and Chinese populations. Further, both plasma and serum are recommended as clinical specimens for miRNA detection. Further studies will be needed to validate these findings using larger numbers of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12489
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus.


  • Circulating miRNAs
  • Diagnosing
  • Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Meta-analysis


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