Blood-based circulating microRNAs as potential biomarkers for predicting the prognosis of head and neck cancer-a systematic review

Head and Neck Cancer

Clin Oral Investig. 2020 Oct 3. doi: 10.1007/s00784-020-03608-7. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to systematically review the role of circulating miRNAs as potential prognostic biomarkers in head and neck cancer patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, and gray literature from January 1990 up to and including September 2019 were searched. The study selection was performed by two independent reviewers according to eligibility criteria.

RESULTS: A total of 13 studies that met the eligibility criteria were included. Significant number of studies were executed majorly in China and predominant number of them were case-control in nature. A total of 22 different miRNAs were found to be concomitant with very poor prognosis in cancers of the head and neck region. Of these, eighteen miRNAs (miR-375, miR-1234, miR-103, miR-638, miR-200b-3p, miR-191-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-572, miR-483-5p, miR-20a, miR-22, miR-29a, miR-29b, mir-let-7c, miR-17, miR-374b-5p, miR-425-5p, and miR-196a) were upregulated and four miRNAs (miR-9, miR-29c, miR-223, and miR-187∗) were downregulated. The hazard ratio (HR) ranged from twofold to fivefold.

CONCLUSION: Based on the results, circulating miRNA may assist in the prediction of prognosis of head and neck cancer. Further multi-center randomized controlled clinical trials with large sample size are required to validate the results of the present review.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Decoding the circulating miRNA profile could aid in accurate prognostication of head and neck cancer.