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In this study, the circulating miRNome from diagnostic neuroblastoma serum was assessed for identification of non-invasive biomarkers with potential in monitoring metastatic disease. After determining the circulating neuroblastoma miRNome, 743 miRNAs were screened in two independent cohorts of 131 and 54 patients. Evaluation of serum miRNA variance in a model testing for tumor stage, MYCN status, age at diagnosis and overall survival, revealed tumor stage as the most significant factor impacting miRNA abundance in neuroblastoma serum. Differential expression analysis between patients with metastatic and localized disease revealed 9 miRNAs strongly associated with metastatic stage 4 disease in both patient cohorts. Increasing levels of these miRNAs were also observed in serum from xenografted mice bearing human neuroblastoma tumors. Moreover, murine serum miRNA levels were strongly associated with tumor volume, suggesting this miRNA signature may be applied to monitor disease burden.

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