Analysis of circulating extracellular vesicle-associated microRNAs in cortisol-producing adrenocortical tumors

Pál Perge, Ábel Decmann, Raffaele Pezzani, Irina Bancos, Ambrogio Fassina, Michaela Luconi, Letizia Canu, Miklós Tóth, Marco Boscaro, Attila Patócs, Peter Igaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Circulating microRNAs (miRNA) have been described in patients with adrenocortical tumors, but the expression of miRNAs in non-functioning and cortisol-producing tumors has not been yet compared. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of plasma extracellular vesicle (EV)-associated microRNAs in patients with non-functioning adrenocortical adenoma (NFA), cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenoma (CPA) and cortisol-producing adrenocortical carcinoma (CP-ACC). Methods: Preoperative plasma EV samples of 13 NFAs, 13 CPAs and 9 CP-ACCs were subjected to extracellular vesicle isolation. miRNAs were investigated by targeted quantitative real-time PCR normalized to cel-miR-39 as reference. Five miRNAs have been selected for this analysis based on the previous studies including hsa-miR-22-3p, hsa-miR-27a-3p, hsa-miR-210-3p, hsa-miR-320b and hsa-miR-375. Results: We have observed significant overrepresentation of three miRNAs in both CPA and CP-ACC relative to NFA: hsa-miR-22-3p (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively), hsa-miR-27a-3p (p < 0.05 in both comparisons) and hsa-miR-320b (p < 0.05 and p < 0.0001, respectively). Hsa-miR-320b has been significantly overrepresented in CP-ACC relative to CPA (p < 0.01). Hsa-miR-210-3p turned out to be significantly overrepresented only in CP-ACC compared to NFA (p < 0.05). Significant correlation was revealed between circulating miRNA concentrations and urinary free cortisol values for hsa-miR-22-3p, hsa-miR-27a-3p and hsa-miR-320b (p < 0.0001 for all) and cortisol after low-dose dexamethasone test for hsa-miR-22-3p and hsa-miR-320b (p < 0.05). Hsa-miR-27a-3p has been significantly stimulated by low-dose dexamethasone test (p < 0.05). Conclusions: EV-associated miRNAs are differentially expressed in different non-functioning and cortisol-producing adrenocortical tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Adenoma
  • Adrenocortical
  • Carcinoma
  • Cortisol
  • Extracellular vesicle
  • MicroRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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