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Consistent high concentration of the viral microRNA BART17 in plasma samples from nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients - evidence of non-exosomal transport.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Because latent Epstein Barr (EBV)-infection is a specific characteristic of malignant nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), various molecules of viral origin are obvious candidate biomarkers in this disease. In a previous study, we could show in a few clinical samples that it was possible to detect a category of EBV microRNAs called miR-BARTs in the plasma of at least a fraction of NPC patients. The first aim of the present study was to investigate the status of circulating miR-BART17-5p (one of the miR-BARTs hereafter called miR-BART17) and EBV DNA in a larger series of NPC plasma samples. The second aim was to determine whether or not circulating miR-BART17 was carried by plasma exosomes. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Plasma samples were collected from 26 NPC patients and 10 control donors, including 9 patients with non-NPC Head and Neck squamous cell carcinoma and one healthy EBV carrier. Concentrations of miR-BART17 and two cellular microRNAs (hsa-miR-16 and -146a) were assessed by real-time quantitative PCR with spike-in normalization and absolute quantification. In addition, for 2 patients, exosome distributions of miR-BART17 and miR-16 were investigated following plasma lipoprotein fractionation by isopycnic density gradient ultrcentrifugation. RESULTS: The miR-BART17 was significantly more abundant in plasma samples from NPC patients compared to non-NPC donors. Above a threshold of 506 copies/mL, detection of miR-BART17 was highly specific for NPC patients (ROC curve analysis: AUC=0.87 with true positive rate = 0.77, false positive rate = 0.10). In this relatively small series, the concentration of plasma miR-BART17 and the plasma EBV DNA load were not correlated. When plasma samples were fractionated, miR-BART17 co-purified with a protein-rich fraction but not with exosomes. CONCLUSIONS: Detection of high concentrations of plasma miR-BART17 is consistent in NPC patients. This parameter is, at least in part, independent of the viral DNA load. Circulating miR-BART17 does not co-purify with exosomes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 5:15:42 PM
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Claire Gourzones, François-Régis Ferrand, Corinne Amiel, Benjamin Vérillaud, Ana Barat, et al.. Consistent high concentration of the viral microRNA BART17 in plasma samples from nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients - evidence of non-exosomal transport.. Virology Journal, BioMed Central, 2013, 10 (1), pp.119. ⟨10.1186/1743-422X-10-119⟩. ⟨inserm-00835488⟩



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