Expression levels of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers during multimodal treatment of rectal cancer - TiMiSNAR-mirna: A substudy of the TiMiSNAR Trial (NCT03962088)

I. Monsellato, E. Garibaldi, E. Cassinotti, L. Baldari, L. Boni, U. Elmore, R. Delpini, R. Rosati, R. Perinotti, F. Alongi, E. Bertocchi, S. Gori, G. Ruffo, G. Pernazza, F. Pulighe, C. De Nisco, E. Morpurgo, T. Contardo, E. Mammano, F. PernaB. Menegatti, A. Coratti, P. Buccianti, R. Balestri, C. Ceccarelli, D. Cavaliere, L. Solaini, G. Ercolani, E. Traverso, V. Fusco, V. Torri, S. Orecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery is the mainstay treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer, leading to significant decrease in tumor size (downsizing) and a shift towards earlier disease stage (downstaging). Extensive histopathological work-up of the tumor specimen after surgery including tumor regression grading and lymph node status helped to visualize individual tumor sensitivity to chemoradiotherapy, retrospectively. As the response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy is heterogeneous, however, valid biomarkers are needed to monitor tumor response. A relevant number of studies aimed to identify molecular markers retrieved from tumor tissue while the relevance of blood-based biomarkers is less stringent assessed. MicroRNAs are currently under investigation to serve as blood-based biomarkers. To date, no screening approach to identify relevant miRNAs as biomarkers in blood of patients with rectal cancer was undertaken. The aim of the study is to investigate the role of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers in those patients included in the TiMiSNAR Trial (NCT 03465982). This is a biomolecular substudy of TiMiSNAR Trial (NCT03962088). Methods: All included patients in the TiMiSNAR Trial are supposed to undergo blood collection at the time of diagnosis, after neoadjuvant treatment, after 1 month from surgery, and after adjuvant chemotherapy whenever indicated. Discussion: TiMiSNAR-MIRNA will evaluate the association of variation between preneoadjuvant and postneoadjuvant expression levels of miRNA with pathological complete response. Moreover, the study will evaluate the role of liquid biopsies in the monitoring of treatment, correlate changes in expression levels of miRNA following complete surgical resection with disease-free survival, and evaluate the relation between changes in miRNA during surveillance and tumor relapse. Trial registration: NCT03962088. Registered on 23 May 2019. © 2020 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Biomarkers
  • Colorectal cancer
  • miRNA
  • Neoadjuvant treatment
  • Translational research
  • biological marker
  • circulating microRNA
  • adjuvant chemoradiotherapy
  • advanced cancer
  • Article
  • cancer grading
  • cancer recurrence
  • cancer surgery
  • disease free survival
  • gene expression
  • histopathology
  • human
  • liquid biopsy
  • multimodality cancer therapy
  • rectum cancer
  • treatment indication
  • treatment response
  • tumor regression
  • tumor volume


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