Epigenetic investigation into circulating microRNA 197-3p in sera from patients affected by malignant pleural mesothelioma and workers ex-exposed to asbestos

Scientific Reports 2023 April 20 [Link]

Giulia Di Mauro, Francesca Frontini, Elena Torreggiani, Maria Rosa Iaquinta, Andrea Caselli, Chiara Mazziotta, Valentina Esposito, Elisa Mazzoni, Roberta Libener, Federica Grosso, Antonio Maconi, Fernanda Martini, Ilaria Bononi, Mauro Tognon


The epigenetic role of microRNAs is established at both physiological and pathological levels. Dysregulated miRNAs and their targets appear to be a promising approach for innovative anticancer therapies. In our previous study, circulating miR-197-3p tested dysregulated in workers ex-exposed to asbestos (WEA). Herein, an epigenetic investigation on this circulating miRNA was carried out in sera from malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients. MiR-197-3p was quantified in MPM (n = 75) sera and comparatively analyzed to WEA (n = 75) and healthy subject (n = 75) sera, using ddPCR and RT-qPCR techniques. Clinicopathological characteristics, occupational, non-occupational information and overall survival (OS) were evaluated in correlation studies. MiR-197-3p levels, analyzed by ddPCR, were significantly higher in MPM than in WEA cohort, with a mean copies/µl of 981.7 and 525.01, respectively. Consistently, RT-qPCR showed higher miR-197-3p levels in sera from MPM with a mean copies/µl of 603.7, compared to WEA with 336.1 copies/µl. OS data were significantly associated with histologic subtype and pleurectomy. Circulating miR-197-3p is proposed as a new potential biomarker for an early diagnosis of the MPM onset. Indeed, miR-197-3p epigenetic investigations along with chest X-ray, computed tomography scan and spirometry could provide relevant information useful to reach an early and effective diagnosis for MPM.