Objective: To determine if changes in levels of serum microRNAs (miRNAs) were seen preceding the diagnosis of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma (AIDS-NHL).
Design: Serum miRNA levels were compared in 3 subject groups from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: HIV-negative men (n = 43), HIV-positive men who did not develop NHL (n = 45), and HIV-positive men before AIDS-NHL diagnosis (n = 62, median time before diagnosis, 8.8 months).
Methods: A total of 175 serum-enriched miRNAs were initially screened to identify differentially expressed miRNAs among these groups and the results validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Receiver-operating characteristic analysis was then performed to assess biomarker utility.
Results: Higher levels of miR-21 and miR-122, and a lower level of miR-223, were able to discriminate HIV-infected from the HIV-uninfected groups, suggesting that these miRNAs are biomarkers for HIV infection but are not AIDS-NHL specific. Among the HIV-infected groups, a higher level of miR-222 was able to discriminate diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) subjects from HIV-infected subjects who did not develop NHL, with area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 0.777 and 0.792, respectively. At miR-222 cutoff values of 0.105 for DLBCL and 0.109 for PCNSL, the sensitivity and specificity were 75% and 77%, and 80% and 82%, respectively.
Conclusions: Altered serum levels of miR-21, miR-122, and miR-223 are seen in HIV-infected individuals. Higher serum level of miR-222 has clear potential as a serum biomarker for earlier detection of DLBCL and PCNSL among HIV-infected individuals.