RNA as Biomarkers in Disease Diagnosis and Prognosis



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RNA as Biomarkers in Disease Diagnosis and Prognosis

As genomic research into the causes and treatments of disease moves rapidly into the era of personalized medicine, an increasing number of biomedical studies are searching for biomarkers to aid in the rapid and efficient prediction of susceptibility, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease tailored to an individual. Overwhelming evidence now suggests that RNAs play a critical role in controlling cell-cycle, cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metabolism, and post-transcriptional pathways. Therefore, RNAs are considered as effective and minimally invasive biomarkers.

RNA biomarkers comprising different coding and noncoding transcriptome such as messenger RNA (mRNA), microRNA (miRNA), long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), circular RNA (circRNA), piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) and small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA). Dysregulation of these RNA biomarkers is involved in the initiation and progression of multiple diseases including cancers, infectious diseases and genetic disorders. For example, miR-21(the most representative miRNA) can be utilized as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for various types of cancer and as a potential therapeutic target.

RNA as Biomarkers in Disease Diagnosis and PrognosisFigure 1. Typical types of RNA biomarkers and their associated function.

Compared with protein biomarkers, RNA biomarkers have more sensitivity and specificity, and the detection cost of RNA biomarker is much lower because detecting each protein requires a specific antibody. Moreover, RNA biomarkers have the advantage of providing dynamic insights into cellular states and regulatory processes than DNA biomarkers. In addition, large scale expression profiles of RNA provide both genetic and dynamic regulatory information, and thus RNA can work as accurate and direct markers of cellular state.

Application of RNA biomarkers:

  • Diagnosing diseases or predicting risks of disease.
  • Monitoring healthy people to detect early signs of disease.
  • Determining whether a treatment is efficient or not.
  • Targeting specific groups of people for whom a particular drug may be useful.
  • Producing safer drugs by predicting the potential for adverse effects earlier.
  • Providing researchers with the opportunity of having a global view of the events and changes that are always occurring within a cell.

As a global biotechnology company specializing in RNA research, IntegrateRNA offers a wide range of services to support you in the discovery of RNA biomarkers. Whether you are doing basic research on model organisms or conducting preclinical or clinical studies, you can count on our in-depth experience and expertise to make your project a success. If you have any question, please feel free to contact us.


  1. Xiaochen X. et al. RNA Biomarkers: Frontier of Precision Medicine for Cancer. Non-Coding RNA, 2017, 3(1):9.
  2. Marvin L. et al. RNAs as Candidate Diagnostic and Prognostic Markers of Prostate Cancer—From Cell Line Models to Liquid Biopsies. Diagnostics, 2018, 8(3):60.
For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.
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