Stability of miRNA in human urine supports its biomarker potential

Christine Mall, David M Rocke, Blythe Durbin-Johnson, Robert H Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Aim: miRNAs are showing utility as biomarkers in urologic disease, however, a rigorous evaluation of their stability in urine is lacking. Here, we evaluate the stability of miRNAs in urine under clinically relevant storage procedures. Materials & methods: Eight healthy individuals provided clean catch urine samples that were stored at room temperature or at 4°C for 5 days, or subjected to ten freeze-thaw cycles at -80°C. For each condition, two miRNAs, miR-16 and miR-21, were quantitated by quantitative real-time PCR. Results: All conditions demonstrated a surprising degree of stability of miRNAs in the urine: by the end of ten freeze-thaw cycles, 23-37% of the initial amount remained; over the 5-day period of storage at room temperature, 35% of the initial amount remained; and at 4°C, 42-56% of the initial amount remained. Both miRNAs also showed degradation at approximately the same rate. Conclusion: miRNAs are relatively stable in urine under a variety of storage conditions, which supports their utility as urinary biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-631
Number of pages9
JournalBiomarkers in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • biomarkers
  • cancer
  • miRNA
  • stability
  • urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Drug Discovery


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