Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a fatal cancer, is an occupational disease mostly affecting workers ex-exposed to asbestos fibers. The asbestos, a cancerogenic mineral of different chemical composition, was widely employed in western Countries in industrial manufactures of different types. MPM may arise after a long latency period, up to five decades. MPM is resistant to conventional chemo- and radiotherapies. Altogether, these data indicate that the identification of new and specific markers are of a paramount importance for an early diagnosis and treatment of MPM. In recent years, microRNAs expression was found dysregulated in patients, both in cancer cells and sera, affected by tumors of different histotypes, including MPM. Cell and circulanting microRNAs, found to be dysregulated in this neoplasia, were proposed as new biomarkers. It has been reported that circulating microRNAs are stable in biological fluids and could be employed as potential MPM biomarkers. In this investigation, circulating microRNAs (miR) from serum samples of MPM patients and workers ex-exposed to asbestos fibers (WEA) and healthy subjects (HS) were comparatively analyzed by microarray and RT-qPCR technologies. Our results allowed (i) to select MiR-3665, an endogenous stable microRNA, as the internal control to quantify in our analyses circulating miRNAs; to detect (ii) miR-197-3p, miR-1281 and miR 32-3p up-regulated in MPM compared to HS; (iii) miR-197-3p and miR-32-3p upregulated in MPM compared to WEA; (iv) miR-1281 up-regulated in both MPM and WEA compared to HS. In conclusion, three circulating up-regulated microRNAs, i.e. miR- 197-3p, miR-1281 and miR-32-3p are proposed as potential new MPM biomarkers.
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