Background:Docetaxel is the first-line chemotherapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, response rates are ∼50% and determined quite late in the treatment schedule, thus non-responders are subjected to unnecessary toxicity. The potential of circulating microRNAs as early biomarkers of docetaxel response in CRPC patients was investigated in this study.Methods:Global microRNA profiling was performed on docetaxel-resistant and sensitive cell lines to identify candidate circulating microRNA biomarkers. Custom Taqman Array MicroRNA cards were used to measure the levels of 46 candidate microRNAs in plasma/serum samples, collected before and after docetaxel treatment, from 97 CRPC patients.Results:Fourteen microRNAs were associated with serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response or overall survival, according to Mann-Whitney U or log-rank tests. Non-responders to docetaxel and patients with shorter survival generally had high pre-docetaxel levels of miR-200 family members or decreased/unchanged post-docetaxel levels of miR-17 family members. Multivariate Cox regression with bootstrapping validation showed that pre-docetaxel miR-200b levels, post-docetaxel change in miR-20a levels, pre-docetaxel haemoglobin levels and visceral metastasis were independent predictors of overall survival when modelled together.Conclusions:Our study suggests that circulating microRNAs are potential early predictors of docetaxel chemotherapy outcome, and warrant further investigation in clinical trials.