Serum patterns of mir-23a and mir-181b in irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer - A pilot study
Emerging evidence demonstrates that microRNAs (miRNAs) could serve as reliable biomarkers of inflammation and oncogenesis. The aim of this study was to determine whether miR-23a and miR-181b were suitable as biomarkers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Forty patients with IBS (29 females, 11 males), 33 with CRC (14 females, 19 males), and 33 healthy controls (17 females, 16 males) were prospectively included. Serum levels of miRNAs were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR. The serum levels of miR-23a and miR-181b were significantly higher in the IBS group (p = 0.0009 and 0.004, respectively) and CRC group (p = 0.002 and 0.029, respectively) than in the control group. Serum levels of miR-23a and miR-181b were upregulated in CRC vs. IBS, but the differences did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.169 and 0.179, respectively). The miRNet and Reactome databases identified phosphatase and tensin homolog as a major common pathway, indicating inflammation as a central hallmark. Although miRNAs could serve as reliable biomarkers in clinical practice, future studies are needed to establish appropriate cut-off limits.