A panel of microRNAs (miRNAs) did not help predict tumor burden in patients with ovarian cancer, according to the results of a recent study.Instead, miRNA expressions during neoadjuvant treatment were inconsistent, with no predictive value for tumor responses or interval debulking surgery.

The study looked at 756 serial blood samples taken from 119 patients enrolled in a phase 2 trial comparing first line carboplatin/paclitaxel with or without nintedanib and interval debulking surgery.

Researchers investigated the prognostic/predictive value of a panel of 11 relevant miRNAs (miR-15b-5p, miR-16-5p, miR-20a-5p, miR-21-5p, miR-93-5p, miR-122-5p, miR-150-5p, miR-195-5p, miR-200b-3p, miR-148b-5p, and miR-34a-5p) and compared them to the values of CA125 kinetics.

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No significant changes of the miRNAs expressions were found during treatment. A comparison of miRNA and CA125 kinetics showed that time changes of CA125 were more homogeneous and rational than those of the miRNAs.

miRNA changes during neoadjuvant treatment were not associated with tumor response or surgical outcomes. Only two miRNAs were found to be associated with survival. Decreases in miR-34a-5p was associated with a progression-free survival benefit (P =.009) and decreases in miR-93-5P were associated with an overall survival benefit (P <.001).

The researchers noted that the outcomes in favor of a lack of predictive value for miRNA are different from previous studies.

“This discrepancy could be understood by the methodology used by the other teams so far. In those studies, the kinetic analyses were performed on maximum 2 or 3 time points (contrarily to our approach based on 8 timepoints per patient), and it is possible that the limited numbers of time points would have induced biases in the outcomes given the high inter-individual variability of miRNA expressions,” the researchers wrote. “Moreover, the large inconsistency in the types of miRNAs reported in the literature assumed to exhibit prognostic or predictive values highlights the difficulty to identify miRNAs with reproducible prognostic/predictive values.”


Robelin P, Tod M, Colomban O, et al. Comparative analysis of predictive values of the kinetics of 11 circulating miRNAs and of CA125 on ovarian cancer during first line treatment (a GINECO study) [published online July 22, 2020]. Gynecol Oncol. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.07.021