Evaluation of Salivary KCNJ3 mRNA Levels in Breast Cancer: A Case–control Study and in silico Analysis

Maryam Koopaie1 , # Open Modal Mahsa Jomehpoor1 , # Open Modal Soheila Manifar2 , * Open Modal Reza Mousavi3 Sajad Kolahdooz4 Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Dentistry Journal 03 Nov 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18742106-v16-e2208100



Breast cancer (BC) is considered the most malignant and central cancer-related death among women worldwide. There is an essential need to discover new methods for developing noninvasive and low-cost diagnoses. The present study examines the expression of KCNJ3 which acts as a biomarker for detecting BC in the saliva of BC patients compared to controls.


The mRNA expression level of KCNJ3 has been evaluated. Forty-three unstimulated whole saliva samples from BC patients and forty-three salivary samples from healthy controls were collected. The mRNA level was measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Furthermore, the protein-protein interaction network in which KCNJ3 is involved was obtained. In silico analysis was applied to predict the possible molecular mechanisms of KCNJ3 in BC development.


Differentially expressed KCNJ3 was statistically significant between BC patients and controls (p<0.001). The sensitivity and specificity of KCNJ3 mRNA in BC detection were 76.74% and 94.95%, respectively. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of KCNJ3 mRNA revealed that Area under the curve (AUC) was 0.923 (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.866-0.979). AUCs of ROC curve analysis were 0.743 (95% CI: 0.536-0.951), 0.685 (95% CI: 0.445-0.925), and 0.583(95% CI: 0.343-0.823) for differentiation stage I from stage III, stage I to stage II and finally stage II from stage III, respectively. Furthermore, the GABAergic synapse signaling pathway was suggested as a potential pathway involved in BC development.


Salivary levels of KCNJ3 could be considered a potential diagnostic biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity for BC detection.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Saliva, KCNJ3, Biomarker, Signaling pathway, MRNA.
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