1. Faculty of Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Taipa, Macau, P.R. China.
2. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicines, (Macau University of Science and Technology), Taipa, Macau, P. R. China.
3. Department of Medical Oncology, Holistic Integrative Oncology Institutes and Holistic Integrative Cancer Center of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, the Affiliated Hospital of Hangzhou Normal University, College of Medicine, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
4. Department of Cancer Pharmacology, Holistic Integrative Pharmacy Institutes, College of Medicine, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Background: Histopathological diagnosis remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of cancer, including colorectal cancer, but it is infeasible when tumor tissue is not available. With the recognition of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), the expression of lncRNAs in serum or tissue samples has been reported as a diagnosis method for some cancers, however, the diagnostic value of lncRNAs for colorectal cancer remains unclear.
Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted. Eligible studies were identified through a comprehensive literature search in PubMed, PubMed Central, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane Library (up to May 05, 2020) according to the selection criteria. Meta-DiSc, Review Manager and STATA were used to analyze the association between lncRNAs expression and the diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
Results: Fifteen studies that analyzed the expression of 15 lncRNAs in 1434 CRC patients were included. The summary area under the curve (AUC) of lncRNA for the diagnosis efficacy between patients with and without CRC was estimated to be 0.8629, corresponding to a weighted sensitivity of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.72 - 0.77), specificity of 0.80 (95%CI: 0.78 - 0.82). Subgroup analysis illustrated that the AUC of blood-based detection of lncRNA showed 0.8820, pooled DOR: 18.57, while tissue-based analysis showed 0.8203, pooled DOR: 10.47. Blood-based tests were then divided into two categories, plasma-based and serum-based lncRNA testing. Results revealed that the AUC of serum-based detection was 0.9077, pooled DOR: 26.64, and plasma-based detection was 0.5000, pooled DOR: 11.80.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis indicates that the aberrantly expressed lncRNAs might serve as potential diagnostic biomarkers for CRC patients and blood-based lncRNA analysis is of higher diagnostic accuracy than tissue-based testing. Moreover, serum-based lncRNA testing achieved higher diagnostic efficacy than plasma-based analysis.
Keywords: long non-coding RNAs, colorectal cancer, diagnosis, systematic review