Identification of microRNAs in Nipple Discharge as Potential Diagnostic Biomarkers for Breast Cancer

Kai Zhang, Song Zhao, Qing Wang, Hsin Sheng Yang, Jiang Zhu, Rong Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Intraductal breast cancer is generally difficult to diagnose because of a lack of an efficient method for detection. The purpose of this study was to reveal and validate the differential expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in nipple discharge from intraductal papilloma patients and identify miRNAs as novel potential biomarkers for primary breast cancer. Methods: Nipple discharge samples were collected from three intraductal carcinoma breast cancer patients and three intraductal papilloma patients. The initial screening of miRNA expression was performed with an Axon GenePix 4000B microarray scanner using a novel approach to label miRNAs. The expression levels of the miRNAs selected from the initial screening were further examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) in 21 validation samples (8 carcinomas and 13 benign tumors). An independent t test was used to detect significant correlations between the miRNA expression levels and breast cancer. Results: Microarray profiling demonstrated that three miRNAs were markedly up-regulated and three miRNAs were down-regulated in the intraductal carcinoma breast cancer patients compared to the papilloma group. The qRT-PCR analysis further verified that four miRNAs (miR-4484, miR-K12-5-5p, miR-3646, and miR-4732-5p) might serve as potential tumor biomarkers for breast cancer detection. Conclusion: The novel approach of using a microarray scanner is applicable for studying biomarkers in nipple discharge containing small amounts of miRNA. miRNAs could serve as potential tumor biomarkers that can assist in breast cancer screening. Up-regulation of miR-4484, miR-K12-5-5p, and miR-3646 in nipple discharge may be a predictor of malignant breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-544
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Independent Innovation Foundation of Shandong University (Grant IIFSDU-2012TS159 to Kai Zhang), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 81402192 to Jiang Zhu), and partially supported by the National Institute of Health (Grant R01CA129015 to Hsin-Sheng Yang). We thank the members of Department of Breast Surgery, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, for their advice on the research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Society of Surgical Oncology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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