Serum miR-182 is a predictive biomarker for dichotomization of risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in rats

Merricka C. Livingstone, Natalie M. Johnson, Bill D. Roebuck, Thomas W. Kensler, John D. Groopman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Exploration of animal models leads to discoveries that can reveal candidate biomarkers for translation to human populations. Herein, a model of hepatocarcinogenesis and protection was used in which rats treated with aflatoxin (AFB1) daily for 28 days (200 µg/kg BW) developed tumors compared with rats completely protected from tumors by concurrent administration of the chemoprotective agent, 1-[2-cyano-3-,12-dioxooleana-1,9(11)-dien-28-oyl]imidazole (CDDO-Im). Differential expression of miRNAs in tumors (AFB1) and nontumor (AFB1 + CDDO-Im) bearing livers and their levels in sera over the life-course of the animals was determined. miRNA transcriptome analysis identified 17 miRNAs significantly upregulated at greater than five-fold in the tumors. The ten most dysregulated miRNAs judged by fold-change and biological significance were selected for further study, including liver-specific miR-122-5p. Validation of sequencing results by real-time PCR confirmed the upregulation of the majority of these miRNAs in tumors, including miR-182, as well as miR-224-5p as the most dysregulated of these miRNAs (over 400-fold). The longitudinal analysis of levels of miR-182 in sera demonstrated significant and persistent increases (5.13-fold; 95% CI: 4.59-5.70). The increase in miR-182 was detected months before any clinical symptoms were present in the animals. By the terminal time point of the study, in addition to elevated levels of serum miR-182, serum miR-122-5p was also found to be increased (>1.5-fold) in animals that developed hepatocarcinomas. Thus, using the data from an unbiased discovery approach of the tissue findings, serum miR-182 was found to track across the complex, multistage process of hepatocarcinogenesis opening an opportunity for translation to human populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2017-2025
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • CDDO-Im
  • RNA sequencing
  • aflatoxin B1
  • hepatocarcinogenesis
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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