Strengths and limitations of laboratory procedures for microRNA detection

Jill Koshiol, Ena Wang, Yingdong Zhao, Francesco Marincola, Maria Teresa Landi

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

86 Citations (Scopus)


Background: MicroRNAs (miR) are endogenous, noncoding RNAs involved in many cellular processes and have been associated with the development and progression of cancer. There are many different ways to evaluate miRs. Methods: We described some of the most commonly used and promising miR detection methods. Results: Each miR detection method has benefits and limitations. Microarray profiling and quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR are the two most common methods to evaluate miR expression. However, the results from microarray and quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR do not always agree. Highthroughput, high-resolution next-generation sequencing of small RNAs may offer the opportunity to quickly and accurately discover new miRs and confirm the presence of known miRs in the near future. Conclusions: All of the current and new technologies have benefits and limitations to consider when designing miR studies. Results can vary across platforms, requiring careful and critical evaluation when interpreting findings. Impact: Although miR detection and expression analyses are rapidly improving, there are still many technical challenges to overcome. The old molecular epidemiology tenet of rigorous biomarker validation and confirmation in independent studies remains essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-911
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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