Background: microRNAs (miRNAs) have an important role in cancer development and progression. It has been shown that miR-372 and miR-101 are involved in cancer progression. In the present study we evaluated expressions of these miRNAs and their serum levels in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and controls.
Methods: We conducted this case-control study on 60 patients with HNSCC and 30 controls. Patients were diagnosed by histological assessments of their tissues. Expressions of EGFR, PTEN, PI3K/CA, miR-372, and miR-101a were evaluated in the tissues, along with serum levels of the miRNAs.
Results: Tissue expression of PTEN decreased in HNSCC, and expressions of EGFR and PI3K increased in HNSCC tissues compared to the controls. Tissue expressions of miR-372 increased and miR-101a decreased in HNSCC tissues compared to the controls. We observed significantly lower serum levels of miR-101a in patients; however, these findings for miR-372 were not significant. A strong correlation existed between serum levels and tissue expression of miR-101a. Notably, miR-101a serum levels showed good sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of HNSCC.
Conclusions: The results showed that HNSCC patients had higher tissue expression of miR-372 and lower expression of miR-101a. Also, serum levels of miR-101a were lower in HNSCC patients. We observed that miR-101a had good sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of HNSCC. The present study suggested that miR-101a could be a potential biomarker for HNSCC.