23. Plasma microRNAs as Biomarkers of Human Diseases

  1. Saura C. Sahu
  1. Katarina Cuk1,2,
  2. Dharanija Madhavan1,2,
  3. Andrey Turchinovich1,2 and
  4. Barbara Burwinkel1,2

Published Online: 6 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118695999.ch23

microRNAs in Toxicology and Medicine

microRNAs in Toxicology and Medicine

How to Cite

Cuk, K., Madhavan, D., Turchinovich, A. and Burwinkel, B. (2013) Plasma microRNAs as Biomarkers of Human Diseases, in microRNAs in Toxicology and Medicine (ed S. C. Sahu), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118695999.ch23

Editor Information

  1. Division of Toxicology, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Molecular Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany

  2. 2

    Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer, University Women's Clinic Heidelberg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118401613

Online ISBN: 9781118695999



  • biomarkers;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • infectious diseases;
  • microRNAs (miRNAs);
  • neurological diseases;
  • plasma


This chapter summarizes the current knowledge regarding circulating microRNAs (miRNAs). It focuses on the identification and potential use of miRNAs in plasma, and to some extent serum, as novel biomarkers for various diseases. This research area is still in its infancy and requires further investigation before circulating miRNAs can be applied as: (1) diagnostic biomarkers associated with the detection of disease; (2) prognostic biomarkers helping to predict disease outcome; and (3) predictive biomarkers, which are important for planning treatment as they are associated with response or resistance to a particular therapy option. The chapter focuses on cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurological, diabetes mellitus and infectious diseases as they are the most common ones and affect millions of people worldwide. It discusses the protocol and sample processing standardization and data normalization problems, as well as the theories regarding the origins and functions of circulating miRNAs.