Published online Apr 21, 2019. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i15.1890
Peer-review started: December 27, 2018
First decision: January 18, 2019
Revised: February 17, 2019
Accepted: February 22, 2019
Article in press: February 23, 2019
Published online: April 21, 2019
Exosomes contain proteins, lipids, and biological molecules such as DNA and RNA. Nucleic acids in exosomes are a group of molecules that can act as biomarkers. Currently, there are many reports on exosomal microRNAs, which are ideal biomarkers for the early diagnosis of cancer. However, there are few reports on the role of exosomal microRNAs in the diagnosis and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
To understand the mechanism of exosomal microRNA-224 (miR-224) in the development of HCC and evaluate its diagnostic and prognostic value.
Cell culture and transfection of exosomal miRNA-224, real-time quantitative PCR, luciferase reporter assay, and other methods were used to find new biomarkers related to the development of HCC that can be used to diagnose HCC and predict HCC prognosis.
By targeting glycine N-methyltransferase, incubating exosomes with miR-224 mimic resulted in a significant increase in cell proliferation compared to that of the control group, while incubation with the miR-224 inhibitor significantly reduced cell proliferation. The same results were obtained for the cell invasion assay. Serum exosomal miR-224 did have some ability to differentiate patients with HCC from healthy controls, with an area under the curve of 0.910, and HCC patients with higher serum exosomal miR-224 expression had lower overall survival.
Exosomal miR-224 is a tumor promotor and can be a marker of diagnosis and prognosis of HCC patients, however, its ability to distinguish liver diseases needs further verification.
Core tip: We aimed to understand the mechanism of exosomal microRNA-224 (miR-224) in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to evaluate its diagnostic and prognostic value for HCC patients. By directly targeting the 3'-untranslated region of glycine N-methyltransferase, exosomal miR-224 inhibits its expression to promote proliferation and invasion. In addition, serum exosomal miR-224 also has potential diagnostic and prognostic value for HCC.