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Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a parasite-induced cancer of the bile ducts that is endemic to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Currently, diagnosis is by ultrasound or liver resection, but the limited access to healthcare in the remote tropical regions where the disease prevails means that CCA is diagnosed at a late stage when morbidity and mortality are high: by diagnosis, life expectancy is generally under two years.
Identification of biomarkers for CCA in biofluids would greatly aid early diagnosis and treatment of CCA. However, the biobank samples used for CCA research are often limited to under 200 µL and consist of a range of biofluids, including serum, plasma, saliva and urine. These samples are a particular challenge for miRNA analysis as RNA purification techniques for crude samples further limit miRNA yield.
Our Firefly® multiplex particle technology was used for biomarker validation in this challenging sample set. Using Firefly assays, the researchers were able to analyze miRNAs directly from as little as 10 µL of crude biofluid. Specific miRNAs that are differentially expressed between disease stages were identified, highlighting the potential of miRNA biomarkers for stage-specific diagnosis of CCA.