Context: As a common disease in the elderly, osteoporosis clearly increases the risk of fractures, leading to higher mortality, but the current markers to estimate the risk of fractures are limited. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) may play an important role in osteoporosis, but the link of this biomarker with fractures was undetermined.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the association between miR-21 levels and the presence of fragility fractures.
Methods: A total of 200 patients were recruited and miR-21 was collected from baseline serum. The correlation between miR-21 and the fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX) score was analyzed. The incidence of fragility fractures was presented by Kaplan-Meier analysis, and Cox regression analysis was utilized to evaluate risk factors. The diagnostic value of miR-21 was conducted by the area under curve (AUC).
Results: The FRAX score was significantly associated with miR-21 level (p<0.001). According to the 50th percentile of miR-21 content in the overall distribution, the cumulative incidence of fragility fractures was significantly higher in patients with higher miR-21 levels than those with lower levels (75.4, 95 % CI: 69.0–81.8 vs. 59.2, 95 % CI: 42.1–76.3, p<0.001). The results of the Cox regression analysis showed that the miR-21 level was an independent risk factor linked to the incidence of fracture (p=0.005). The optimal cut-off value of the miR-21 was 6.08, and the AUC for predicting fracture was 0.718 (95 % CI, 0.645–0.790).
Conclusions: This study showed that miR-21 has optimal diagnostic performance in the discrimination of fragility fracture, and the circulating miR-21 level in predicting the risk of fragility fracture may have a certain value.