Methods and novel technology for microRNA quantification in colorectal cancer screening

Laura Moody, Hongshan He, Yuan Xiang Pan, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The screening and diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) currently relies heavily on invasive endoscopic techniques as well as imaging and antigen detection tools. More accessible and reliable biomarkers are necessary for early detection in order to expedite treatment and improve patient outcomes. Recent studies have indicated that levels of specific microRNA (miRNA) are altered in CRC; however, measuring miRNA in biological samples has proven difficult, given the complicated and lengthy PCR-based procedures used by most laboratories. In this manuscript, we examine the potential of miRNA as CRC biomarkers, summarize the methods that have commonly been employed to quantify miRNA, and focus on novel strategies that can improve or replace existing technology for feasible implementation in a clinical setting. These include isothermal amplification techniques that can potentially eliminate the need for specialized thermocycling equipment. Additionally, we propose the use of near-infrared (NIR) probes which can minimize autofluorescence and photobleaching and streamline quantification without tedious sample processing. We suggest that novel miRNA quantification tools will be necessary to encourage new discoveries and facilitate their translation to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119
Number of pages1
JournalClinical epigenetics
StatePublished - 2017


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • Isothermal
  • Near-infrared (NIR)
  • Optical imaging
  • Ytterbium
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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