MicroRNA-21 as a diagnostic marker for hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

MiR-21 in HCC

  • Juan Qu Tianjin Nankai Hospital
  • Jizhi Yang
  • Ming Chen
  • Lihong Cui
  • Tianxi Wang
  • Wei Gao
  • Jingjing Tian
  • Rongna Wei
Keywords: Biomarker, Early diagnosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, microRNAs


Background: MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is one of the oncogenic miRNAs which may be a potential diagnostic biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: We systematically searched Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus from inception to August 15, 2018, and reference lists of identified primary studies. Two independent investigators extracted patient and study characteristics. The sensitivity and specificity of microRNA-21 for HCC detection and were analyzed with a random effect model. The area under summary receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used to estimate overall test performance.

Results: A total of 515 HCC patients, and 338 healthy or chronic hepatitis controls from six published studies were enrolled in this meta-analysis. All articles were published in English with moderate-to-high quality. The overall pooled sensitivity and specificity were 85.2% (73.3% to 88.4%) and 79.2% (68.4% to 87.0%), respectively. The AUC area was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.85-0.91). The studies had moderate heterogeneity (I2=70.11%). None of the subgroups investigated-ethnicity, controls, sample source-could account for the heterogeneity.

Conclusion: MiR-21 is a helpful biomarker for early diagnosis of HCC. Nevertheless, the results of the test must be interpreted carefully in the context of medical history, erological tests and imaging examinations for HCC surveillance.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.35.5.685

How to cite this:
Qu J, Yang J, Chen M, Cui L, Wang T, Gao W, et al. MicroRNA-21 as a diagnostic marker for hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pak J Med Sci. 2019;35(5):1466-1471. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.35.5.685

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Systematic Review