Prognostic value of miR-21 for prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Elevated levels of miR-21 expression are associated with many cancers, suggesting it may be a promising clinical biomarker. In prostate cancer (PCa), however, there is still no consensus about the usefulness of miR-21 as an indicator of disease progression. This systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the value of miR-21 expression as a prognostic measurement in PCa patients. Medline (Ovid), EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched for relevant publications between 2010 to 2021. Studies exploring the relationship between miR-21 expression, PCa prognosis and clinicopathological factors were selected for review. Those reporting hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were subject to meta-analyses. Fixed-effect models were employed to calculated pooled HRs and 95% CIs. Risk of bias in each study was assessed using QUIPS tool. Certainty of evidence in each meta-analysis was assessed using GRADE guidelines. A total of 64 studies were included in the systematic review. Of these, 11 were eligible for inclusion in meta-analysis. Meta-analyses revealed that high miR-21 expression was associated with poor prognosis: HR = 1.58 (95% CI = 1.19-2.09) for biochemical recurrence, MODERATE certainty; HR = 1.46 (95% CI = 1.06-2.01) for death, VERY LOW certainty; and HR = 1.26 (95% CI = 0.70-2.27) for disease progression, VERY LOW certainty. Qualitative summary revealed elevated miR-21 expression was significantly positively associated with PCa stage, Gleason score and risk groups. This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that elevated levels of miR-21 are associated with poor prognosis in PCa patients. miR-21 expression may therefore be a useful prognostic biomarker in this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBSR20211972
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBioscience Reports
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Department for the Economy (DfE), Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).


  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • prognostic
  • prostate cancer
  • meta analysis
  • microRNA
  • miR-21
  • systematic


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