MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are promising molecules that can regulate gene expression, and their expression level and type have been associated with early diagnosis, targeted therapy, and prognosis of various diseases. Therefore, analysis of miRNA in the plasma or serum is useful for the discovery of biomarkers and the diagnosis of implicated diseases to achieve potentially unprecedented progress in early treatment. Numerous methods to improve sensitivity have recently been proposed and confirmed to be valuable in miRNA detection. Specifically, quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is an effective and common method for sensitive and specific analysis of miRNA from biological fluids, such as plasma or serum. Despite this, the application of qRT-PCR is limited, as it can be affected by various contaminants. Therefore, extraction studies have been frequently conducted to maximize the extracted miRNA amount while simultaneously minimizing contaminants. Moreover, studies have evaluated extraction efficiency and normalization of the extracted sample. However, variability in results among laboratories still exists. In this review, we aimed to summarize the factors influencing the qualification and quantification of miRNAs in the plasma using qRT-PCR. Factors influencing reliable analysis of miRNA using qRT-PCR are described in detail. Additionally, we aimed to describe the importance of evaluating extraction and normalization for reliable miRNA analysis and to explore how miRNA detection accuracy, especially from plasma, can be improved.
- Amplification efficiency