Drug Res (Stuttg) 2024; 74(03): 102-112
DOI: 10.1055/a-2244-6572

Understanding the Potential of mRNA as Biomarker to Revolutionize Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

1   M.M. College of Pharmacy, Maharishi Markandeshwar (Deemed to be) University, Mullana, Ambala, HR, India
Dinesh Kumar Mehta
1   M.M. College of Pharmacy, Maharishi Markandeshwar (Deemed to be) University, Mullana, Ambala, HR, India
Nidhi Gupta
1   M.M. College of Pharmacy, Maharishi Markandeshwar (Deemed to be) University, Mullana, Ambala, HR, India
› Author Affiliations
Fundings Information The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Graphical Abstract

MicroRNA as potential biomarker for early diagnosis, differentiating various stages, interpreting the success of postoperative curative surgery and predicting early relapse of Colorectal cancer.

Zoom Image


In the realm of medical research, the quest to find effective biomarkers for various diseases has always been a top priority. Colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, is no exception. The emergence of microRNA (mRNA) as a potential biomarker for CRC has sparked immense interest among scientists and clinicians alike. mRNA, a molecule responsible for translating genetic information into functional proteins, presents a promising avenue for early detection and personalized treatment of this deadly disease. By analyzing the specific patterns and levels of mRNA expression in CRC cells, researchers have the ability to identify signatures that can aid in accurate diagnosis, predict patient prognosis, and even guide targeted therapies. This breakthrough in molecular biology not only enhances our understanding of CRC but also holds the potential to revolutionize the field of cancer diagnostics and treatment. In this article, we will delve deeper into the potential of mRNA as a biomarker for CRC, exploring its benefits and challenges in the field of cancer research.

Publication History

Received: 08 November 2023

Accepted: 01 January 2024

Article published online:
13 February 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

  • References

  • 1 Kuipers EJ, Grady WM, Lieberman D. et al. Colorectal cancer. Nat Rev Dis Prim 2015; 1: 661-679
  • 2 Wang H, Peng R, Wang J. et al. Circulating microRNAs as potential cancer biomarkers: The advantage and disadvantage. Clin. Epigenetics 2018; 10: 234-248
  • 3 Asadi M, Talesh ST, Gjerstorff MF. et al. Identification of miRNAs correlating with stage and progression of colorectal cancer. Color Cancer 2019; 8: CRC06
  • 4 Lee K, Ferguson LR. MicroRNA biomarkers predicting risk, initiation and progression of colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol 2016; 22: 7389-7401
  • 5 Świderska M, Choromańska B, Dąbrowska E. et al. The diagnostics of colorectal cancer. Wspolczesna Onkol 2014; 18: 1-6
  • 6 Zafari V, Hashemzadeh S, Feizi MH. et al. mRNA expression of nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic 2 (NFATC2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) transcription factors in colorectal carcinoma. Bosn J Basic Med Sci 2017; 17: 255-261
  • 7 Chen X, Ba Y, Ma L. et al. Characterization of microRNAs in serum: A novel class of biomarkers for diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. Cell Res 2008; 18: 997-1006
  • 8 Calin GA, Croce CM. MicroRNA signatures in human cancers. Nat. Rev. Cancer 2006; 6: 857-866
  • 9 Giráldez MD, Lozano JJ, Ramírez G. et al. Circulating MicroRNAs as biomarkers of colorectal cancer: Results from a genome-wide profiling and validation study. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 11: 81-96
  • 10 Rana M, Saini M, Das R. et al. Circulating MicroRNAs: Diagnostic Value as Biomarkers in the Detection of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. MicroRNA 2023; 12: 99-113
  • 11 Singh A, Ranjan V, Das R. et al. Serum Biomarkers for Noninvasive Diagnosis of Liver Diseases: How Laudable are These Tools?. Curr Chem Biol 2020; 15: 128-138
  • 12 Ren A, Dong Y, Tsoi H. et al. Detection of miRNA as non-invasive biomarkers of colorectal cancer. Int J Mol Sci 2015; 16: 2810-2823
  • 13 Niemoeller OM, Niyazi M, Corradini S. et al. MicroRNA expression profiles in human cancer cells after ionizing radiation. Radiat Oncol 2011; 6: 1-25
  • 14 Schetter AJ, Okayama H, Harris CC. The role of MicroRNAs in colorectal cancer. Cancer J. (United States) 2012; 18: 244-252
  • 15 Tsai HL, Yang IP, Huang CW. et al. Clinical significance of microRNA-148a in patients with early relapse of stage II stage and III colorectal cancer after curative resection. Transl Res 2013; 162: 258-268
  • 16 Wang LL, Du LT, Li J. et al. Decreased expression of miR-133a correlates with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer patients. World J Gastroenterol 2014; 20: 11340-11346
  • 17 Sun M, Song H, Wang S. et al. Integrated analysis identifies microRNA-195 as a suppressor of Hippo-YAP pathway in colorectal cancer. J Hematol Oncol 2017; 10: 112-125
  • 18 Yan S, Han B, Gao S. et al. Exosome-encapsulated microRNAs as circulating biomarkers for colorectal cancer. Oncotarget 2017; 8: 45-61
  • 19 Hur K, Toiyama Y, Schetter AJ. et al. Identification of a metastasis-specific microRNA signature in human colorectal cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2015; 107: 412-425
  • 20 Huang G, Wei B, Chen Z. et al. Identification of a four-microRNA panel in serum as promising biomarker for colorectal carcinoma detection. Biomark Med 2020; 14: 749-760
  • 21 Pan Y, Qin J, Sun H. et al. MiR-485-5p as a potential biomarker and tumor suppressor in human colorectal cancer. Biomark Med 2020; 14: 239-248
  • 22 Wang Q, Huang Z, Ni S. et al. Plasma miR-601 and miR-760 Are Novel Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer. PLoS One 2012; 7: 612-627
  • 23 Kou CH, Zhou T, Han XL. et al. Downregulation of mir-23b in plasma is associated with poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. Oncol Lett 2016; 12: 4838-4844
  • 24 Yanlei M, Zhang P, Wang F. et al. miR-150 as a potential biomarker associated with prognosis and therapeutic outcome in colorectal cancer. Gut 2012; 61: 1447-1453
  • 25 Li J, Li B, Ren C. et al. The clinical significance of circulating GPC1 positive exosomes and its regulative miRNAs in colon cancer patients. Oncotarget 2017; 8: 101189-101202
  • 26 Chen Z, Wu G, Ye F. et al. High expression of MMP19 is associated with poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. BMC Cancer 2019; 19
  • 27 Fang Z, Tang J, Bai Y. et al. Plasma levels of microRNA-24, microRNA-320a, and microRNA-423-5p are potential biomarkers for colorectal carcinoma. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2015; 34: 1-18
  • 28 Luo X, Wu Y, Ji M. et al. Combined plasma microRNA and fecal occult blood tests in early detection of colorectal cancer. Clin Lab 2019; 65: 733-741
  • 29 Gurer T, Aytekin A, Caki E. et al. miR-485-3p and miR-4728-5p as Tumor Suppressors in Pathogenesis of Colorectal Cancer. Mol Biol 2022; 56: 474-488
  • 30 Taherdangkoo K, Kazemi NSR, Hajjari MR. et al. miR-485-3p suppresses colorectal cancer via targeting TPX2. Bratislava Med J 2020; 121: 302-307
  • 31 Jin RR, Zeng C, Chen Y. MiR-22-3p regulates the proliferation, migration and invasion of colorectal cancer cells by directly targeting KDM3A through the Hippo pathway. Histol Histopathol 2022; 37: 1241-1252
  • 32 Yuan D, Li K, Zhu K. et al. Plasma miR-183 predicts recurrence and prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. Cancer Biol Ther 2015; 16: 268-275
  • 33 Liao D, Li T, Ye C. et al. MiR-221 inhibits autophagy and targets TP53INP1 in colorectal cancer cells. Exp Ther Med 2018; 15: 1712-1717
  • 34 Jinushi T, Shibayama Y, Kinoshita I. et al. Low expression levels of microRNA-124-5p correlated with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer via targeting of SMC4. Cancer Med 2014; 3: 1544-1552
  • 35 Cheng H, Zhang L, Cogdell DE. et al. Circulating plasma MiR-141 is a novel biomarker for metastatic colon cancer and predicts poor prognosis. PLoS One 2011; 6: 135-143
  • 36 Matsumura T, Sugimachi K, Iinuma H. et al. Exosomal microRNA in serum is a novel biomarker of recurrence in human colorectal cancer. Br J Cancer 2015; 113: 275-281
  • 37 Kjaer-Frifeldt S, Hansen TF, Nielsen BS. et al. The prognostic importance of miR-21 in stage II colon cancer: A population-based study. Br J Cancer 2012; 107: 1169-1174
  • 38 Yamazaki N, Koga Y, Taniguchi H. et al. High expression of miR-181c as a predictive marker of recurrence in stage II colorectal cancer. Oncotarget 2017; 8: 6970-6983
  • 39 Schetter AJ, Leung SY, Sohn JJ. et al. MicroRNA expression profiles associated with prognosis and therapeutic outcome in colon adenocarcinoma. JAMA 2008; 299: 425-436
  • 40 Vychytilova-Faltejskova P, Radova L, Sachlova M. et al. Serum-based microRNA signatures in early diagnosis and prognosis prediction of colon cancer. Carcinogenesis 2016; 37: 941-950
  • 41 Imaoka H, Toiyama Y, Fujikawa H. et al. Circulating microRNA-1290 as a novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in human colorectal cancer. Ann Oncol 2016; 27: 1879-1886
  • 42 Ke TW, Wei PL, Yeh KT. et al. MiR-92a Promotes Cell Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer Through PTEN-Mediated PI3K/AKT Pathway. Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22: 2649-2655
  • 43 Lv ZC, Fan YS, Chen HB. et al. Investigation of microRNA-155 as a serum diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for colorectal cancer. Tumor Biol 2014; 36: 1619-1625
  • 44 Ogata-Kawata H, Izumiya M, Kurioka D. et al. Circulating exosomal microRNAs as biomarkers of colon cancer. PLoS One 2014; 9: 212-235
  • 45 Rotelli MT, Di Lena M, Cavallini A. et al. Fecal microRNA profile in patients with colorectal carcinoma before and after curative surgery. Int J Colorectal Dis 2015; 30: 891-898
  • 46 Duran-Sanchon S, Moreno L, Augé JM. et al. Identification and Validation of MicroRNA Profiles in Fecal Samples for Detection of Colorectal Cancer. Gastroenterology 2020; 158: 947-957.e4
  • 47 Clancy C, Khan S, Glynn CL. et al. Screening of exosomal microRNAs from colorectal cancer cells. Cancer Biomarkers 2017; 17: 427-435
  • 48 Toiyama Y, Hur K, Tanaka K. et al. Serum miR-200c is a novel prognostic and metastasis-predictive biomarker in patients with colorectal cancer. Ann Surg 2014; 259: 735-743
  • 49 Weissmann-Brenner A, Kushnir M, Yanai GL. et al. Tumor microRNA-29a expression and the risk of recurrence in stage II colon cancer. Int J Oncol 2012; 40: 2097-2103
  • 50 Zhang H, Zhu M, Shan X. et al. A panel of seven-miRNA signature in plasma as potential biomarker for colorectal cancer diagnosis. Gene 2019; 687: 246-254
  • 51 Toiyama Y, Takahashi M, Hur K. et al. Serum miR-21 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2013; 105: 849-859
  • 52 Menéndez P, Padilla D, Villarejo P. et al. Prognostic implications of serum microRNA-21 in colorectal cancer. J Surg Oncol 2013; 108: 369-373
  • 53 Ma Y, Qin C, Li L. et al. MicroRNA-21 promotes cell proliferation by targeting tumor suppressor TET1 in colorectal cancer. Int J Clin Exp Pathol [Internet] 2018; 11: 1439-1445
  • 54 Vega AB, Pericay C, Moya I. et al. microRNA expression profile in stage III colorectal cancer: Circulating miR-18a and miR-29a as promising biomarkers. Oncol Rep 2013; 30: 320-326
  • 55 Earle JSL, Luthra R, Romans A. et al. Association of MicroRNA expression with microsatellite instability status in colorectal adenocarcinoma. J Mol Diagnostics 2010; 12: 433-440
  • 56 Kulda V, Pesta M, Topolcan O. et al. Relevance of miR-21 and miR-143 expression in tissue samples of colorectal carcinoma and its liver metastases. Cancer Genet Cytogenet 2010; 200: 154-160
  • 57 Motoyama K, Inoube H, Takatsuno Y. et al. Over- and under-expressed microRNAs in human colorectal cancer. Int J Oncol 2009; 34: 1069-1075
  • 58 Luo X, Stock C, Burwinkel B. et al. Identification and Evaluation of Plasma MicroRNAs for Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer. PLoS One 2013; 8: 91-99
  • 59 Zhu M, Huang Z, Zhu D. et al. A panel of microRNA signature in serum for colorectal cancer diagnosis. Oncotarget 2017; 8: 17081-17091
  • 60 Zhang G, Zhou H, Xiao H. et al. MicroRNA-92a functions as an oncogene in colorectal cancer by targeting PTEN. Dig Dis Sci 2014; 59: 98-107
  • 61 Sun Y, Liu Y, Cogdell D. et al. Examining plasma microRNA markers for colorectal cancer at different stages. Oncotarget 2016; 7: 11434-11449
  • 62 Hur K, Toiyama Y, Okugawa Y. et al. Circulating microRNA-203 predicts prognosis and metastasis in human colorectal cancer. Gut 2017; 66: 654-664
  • 63 Qiao D, Gu C, Wang W. et al. Tumor-Originated Exosomal hsa-miR-3937 as a Minimally Invasive Early Biomarker for Liquid Biopsy of Colorectal Cancer. J Oncol 2022; 6990955: 620-642
  • 64 Ashoori H, Kamian S, Vahidian F. et al. Correlation of miR-31 and miR-373 expression with KRAS mutations and its impact on prognosis in colorectal cancer. J Egypt Natl Canc Inst 2022; 34: 1-25
  • 65 Kanaan Z, Roberts H, Eichenberger MR. et al. A plasma MicroRNA panel for detection of colorectal adenomas: A step toward more precise screening for colorectal cancer. In: Annals of Surgery. 2013. 258. 400-406
  • 66 Zheng G, Du L, Yang X. et al. Serum microRNA panel as biomarkers for early diagnosis of colorectal adenocarcinoma. Br J Cancer 2014; 111: 1985-1992
  • 67 Ozawa T, Kandimalla R, Gao F. et al. A MicroRNA Signature Associated With Metastasis of T1 Colorectal Cancers to Lymph Nodes. Gastroenterology 2018; 154: 844-848.e7
  • 68 Wang S, Xiang J, Li Z. et al. A plasma microRNA panel for early detection of colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer 2015; 136: 152-161
  • 69 Herreros-Villanueva M, Duran-Sanchon S, Martín AC. et al. Plasma MicroRNA Signature Validation for Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer. Clin Transl Gastroenterol 2019; 10: 125-145
  • 70 Zhang J, Raju GS, Chang DW. et al. Global and targeted circulating microRNA profiling of colorectal adenoma and colorectal cancer. Cancer 2018; 124: 24-53
  • 71 Wang J, Huang SK, Zhao M. et al. Identification of a circulating microRNA signature for colorectal cancer detection. PLoS One 2014; 9: 1-27
  • 72 Di Z, Di M, Fu W. et al. Integrated Analysis Identifies a Nine-microRNA Signature Biomarker for Diagnosis and Prognosis in Colorectal Cancer. Front Genet 2020; 11: 62-78
  • 73 Peng X, Wang J, Zhang C. et al. A three-miRNA panel in serum as a noninvasive biomarker for colorectal cancer detection. Int J Biol Markers 2020; 35: 74-82