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1.  microRNA-122 as a regulator of mitochondrial metabolic gene network in hepatocellular carcinoma 
A moderate loss of miR-122 function correlates with up-regulation of seed-matched genes and down-regulation of mitochondrially localized genes in both human hepatocellular carcinoma and in normal mice treated with anti-miR-122 antagomir.Putative direct targets up-regulated with loss of miR-122 and secondary targets down-regulated with loss of miR-122 are conserved between human beings and mice and are rapidly regulated in vitro in response to miR-122 over- and under-expression.Loss of miR-122 secondary target expression in either tumorous or adjacent non-tumorous tissue predicts poor survival of heptatocellular carcinoma patients.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most aggressive human malignancies, common in Asia, Africa, and in areas with endemic infections of hepatitis-B or -C viruses (HBV or HCV) (But et al, 2008). Globally, the 5-year survival rate of HCC is <5% and about 600 000 HCC patients die each year. The high mortality associated with this disease is mainly attributed to the failure to diagnose HCC patients at an early stage and a lack of effective therapies for patients with advanced stage HCC. Understanding the relationships between phenotypic and molecular changes in HCC is, therefore, of paramount importance for the development of improved HCC diagnosis and treatment methods.
In this study, we examined mRNA and microRNA (miRNA)-expression profiles of tumor and adjacent non-tumor liver tissue from HCC patients. The patient population was selected from a region of endemic HBV infection, and HBV infection appears to contribute to the etiology of HCC in these patients. A total of 96 HCC patients were included in the study, of which about 88% tested positive for HBV antigen; patients testing positive for HCV antigen were excluded. Among the 220 miRNAs profiled, miR-122 was the most highly expressed miRNA in liver, and its expression was decreased almost two-fold in HCC tissue relative to adjacent non-tumor tissue, confirming earlier observations (Lagos-Quintana et al, 2002; Kutay et al, 2006; Budhu et al, 2008).
Over 1000 transcripts were correlated and over 1000 transcripts were anti-correlated with miR-122 expression. Consistent with the idea that transcripts anti-correlated with miR-122 are potential miR-122 targets, the most highly anti-correlated transcripts were highly enriched for the presence of the miR-122 central seed hexamer, CACTCC, in the 3′UTR. Although the complete set of negatively correlated genes was enriched for cell-cycle genes, the subset of seed-matched genes had no significant KEGG Pathway annotation, suggesting that miR-122 is unlikely to directly regulate the cell cycle in these patients. In contrast, transcripts positively correlated with miR-122 were not enriched for 3′UTR seed matches to miR-122. Interestingly, these 1042 transcripts were enriched for genes coding for mitochondrially localized proteins and for metabolic functions.
To analyze the impact of loss of miR-122 in vivo, silencing of miR-122 was performed by antisense inhibition (anti-miR-122) in wild-type mice (Figure 3). As with the genes negatively correlated with miR-122 in HCC patients, no significant biological annotation was associated with the seed-matched genes up-regulated by anti-miR-122 in mouse livers. The most significantly enriched biological annotation for anti-miR-122 down-regulated genes, as for positively correlated genes in HCC, was mitochondrial localization; the down-regulated mitochondrial genes were enriched for metabolic functions. Putative direct and downstream targets with orthologs on both the human and mouse microarrays showed significant overlap for regulations in the same direction. These overlaps defined sets of putative miR-122 primary and secondary targets. The results were further extended in the analysis of a separate dataset from 180 HCC, 40 cirrhotic, and 6 normal liver tissue samples (Figure 4), showing anti-correlation of proposed primary and secondary targets in non-healthy tissues.
To validate the direct correlation between miR-122 and some of the primary and secondary targets, we determined the expression of putative targets after transfection of miR-122 mimetic into PLC/PRF/5 HCC cells, including the putative direct targets SMARCD1 and MAP3K3 (MEKK3), a target described in the literature, CAT-1 (SLC7A1), and three putative secondary targets, PPARGC1A (PGC-1α) and succinate dehydrogenase subunits A and B. As expected, the putative direct targets showed reduced expression, whereas the putative secondary target genes showed increased expression in cells over-expressing miR-122 (Figure 4).
Functional classification of genes using the total ancestry method (Yu et al, 2007) identified PPARGC1A (PGC-1α) as the most connected secondary target. PPARGC1A has been proposed to function as a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis (Ventura-Clapier et al, 2008), suggesting that loss of PPARGC1A expression may contribute to the loss of mitochondrial gene expression correlated with loss of miR-122 expression. To further validate the link of miR-122 and PGC-1α protein, we transfected PLC/PRF/5 cells with miR-122-expression vector, and observed an increase in PGC-1α protein levels. Importantly, transfection of both miR-122 mimetic and miR-122-expression vector significantly reduced the lactate content of PLC/PRF/5 cells, whereas anti-miR-122 treatment increased lactate production. Together, the data support the function of miR-122 in mitochondrial metabolic functions.
Patient survival was not directly associated with miR-122-expression levels. However, miR-122 secondary targets were expressed at significantly higher levels in both tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues among survivors as compared with deceased patients, providing supporting evidence for the potential relevance of loss of miR-122 function in HCC patient morbidity and mortality.
Overall, our findings reveal potentially new biological functions for miR-122 in liver physiology. We observed decreased expression of miR-122, a liver-specific miRNA, in HBV-associated HCC, and loss of miR-122 seemed to correlate with the decrease of mitochondrion-related metabolic pathway gene expression in HCC and in non-tumor liver tissues, a result that is consistent with the outcome of treatment of mice with anti-miR-122 and is of prognostic significance for HCC patients. Further investigation will be conducted to dissect the regulatory function of miR-122 on mitochondrial metabolism in HCC and to test whether increasing miR-122 expression can improve mitochondrial function in liver and perhaps in liver tumor tissues. Moreover, these results support the idea that primary targets of a given miRNA may be distributed over a variety of functional categories while resulting in a coordinated secondary response, potentially through synergistic action (Linsley et al, 2007).
Tumorigenesis involves multistep genetic alterations. To elucidate the microRNA (miRNA)–gene interaction network in carcinogenesis, we examined their genome-wide expression profiles in 96 pairs of tumor/non-tumor tissues from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Comprehensive analysis of the coordinate expression of miRNAs and mRNAs reveals that miR-122 is under-expressed in HCC and that increased expression of miR-122 seed-matched genes leads to a loss of mitochondrial metabolic function. Furthermore, the miR-122 secondary targets, which decrease in expression, are good prognostic markers for HCC. Transcriptome profiling data from additional 180 HCC and 40 liver cirrhotic patients in the same cohort were used to confirm the anti-correlation of miR-122 primary and secondary target gene sets. The HCC findings can be recapitulated in mouse liver by silencing miR-122 with antagomir treatment followed by gene-expression microarray analysis. In vitro miR-122 data further provided a direct link between induction of miR-122-controlled genes and impairment of mitochondrial metabolism. In conclusion, miR-122 regulates mitochondrial metabolism and its loss may be detrimental to sustaining critical liver function and contribute to morbidity and mortality of liver cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC2950084  PMID: 20739924
hepatocellular carcinoma; microarray; miR-122; mitochondrial; survival
2.  Inherited polymorphisms in the RNA-mediated interference machinery affect microRNA expression and lung cancer survival 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;103(12):1870-1874.
MicroRNAs (miRs) have an important role in lung carcinogenesis and progression. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in miR biogenesis may affect miR expression in lung tissue and be associated with lung carcinogenesis and progression.
We analysed 12 SNPs in POLR2A, RNASEN and DICER1 genes in 1984 cases and 2073 controls from the Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study. We investigated miR expression profiles in 165 lung adenocarcinoma (AD) and 125 squamous cell carcinoma tissue samples from the same population. We used logistic and Cox regression models to examine the association of individual genotypes and haplotypes with lung cancer risk and with lung cancer-specific survival, respectively. SNPs-miR expression associations in cases were assessed using two-sample t-tests and global permutation tests.
A haplotype in RNASEN (Drosha) was significantly associated with shorter lung cancer survival (hazard ratio=1.86, 95% CI=1.19–2.92, P=0.007). In AD cases, a SNP within the same haplotype was associated with reduced RNASEN mRNA expression (P=0.013) and with miR expression changes (global P=0.007) of miRs known to be associated with cancer (e.g., let-7 family, miR-21, miR-25, miR-126 and miR15a).
Inherited variation in the miR-processing machinery can affect miR expression levels and lung cancer-specific survival.
PMCID: PMC3008605  PMID: 21102586
microRNA biogenesis; polymorphism; lung cancer; survival
3.  Influence of quercetin-rich food intake on microRNA expression in lung cancer tissues 
Epidemiologic studies have reported that frequent consumption of quercetin-rich foods is inversely associated with lung cancer incidence. A quercetin-rich diet might modulate microRNA (miR) expression; however, this mechanism has not been fully examined.
miR expression data were measured by a custom-made array in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 264 lung cancer cases (144 adenocarcinomas and 120 squamous cell carcinomas). Intake of quercetin-rich foods was derived from a food-frequency questionnaire. In individual-miR-based analyses, we compared the expression of miRs (n=198) between lung cancer cases consuming high-versus-low quercetin-rich food intake using multivariate ANOVA tests. In family-miR-based analyses, we used Functional Class Scoring (FCS) to assess differential effect on biologically functional miRs families. We accounted for multiple testing using 10,000 global permutations (significance at p-valueglobal <0.10). All multivariate analyses were conducted separately by histology and by smoking status (former and current smokers).
Family-based analyses showed that a quercetin-rich diet differentiated miR expression profiles of the tumor suppressor let-7 family among adenocarcinomas (p-valueFCS<0.001). Other significantly differentiated miR families included carcinogenesis-related miR-146, miR-26, and miR-17 (p-valuesFCS<0.05). In individual-based analyses, we found that among former and current smokers with adenocarcinoma, 33 miRs were observed to be differentiated between highest-and-lowest quercetin-rich food consumers (23 expected by chance; p-valueglobal = 0.047).
We observed differential expression of key biologically functional miRNAs between high-versus-low consumers of quercetin-rich foods in adenocarcinoma cases.
Our findings provide preliminary evidence on the mechanism underlying quercetin-related lung carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3538163  PMID: 23035181
4.  Loss of post-transcriptional regulation of DNMT3b by microRNAs: A possible molecular mechanism for the hypermethylation defect observed in a subset of breast cancer cell lines 
International Journal of Oncology  2012;41(2):721-732.
A hypermethylation defect associated with DNMT hyperactivity and DNMT3b overexpression characterizes a subset of breast cancers and breast cancer cell lines. We analyzed breast cancer cell lines for differential expression of regulatory miRs to determine if loss of miR-mediated post-transcriptional regulation of DNMT3b represents the molecular mechanism that governs the overexpression of DNMT3b that drives the hypermethylation defect in breast cancer. MicroRNAs (miRs) that regulate (miR-29a, miR-29b, miR-29c, miR-148a, miR-148b) or are predicted (miR-26a, miR-26b, miR-203, miR-222) to regulate DNMT3b were examined among 10 hypermethylator and 6 non-hypermethylator breast cancer cell lines. Hypermethylator cell lines express diminished levels of miR-29c, miR-148a, miR-148b, miR-26a, miR-26b, and miR-203 compared to non-hypermethylator cell lines. miR expression patterns correlate inversely with methylation-sensitive gene expression (r=−0.66, p=0.0056) and directly with the methylation status of these genes (r=0.72, p=0.002). To determine the mechanistic role of specific miRs in the dysregulation of DNMT3b among breast cancer cell lines, miR levels were modulated by transfection of pre-miR precursors for miR-148b, miR-26b, and miR-29c into hypermethylator cell lines (Hs578T, HCC1937, SUM185) and transfection of antagomirs directed against miR-148b, miR-26b, and miR-29c into non-hypermethylator cell lines (BT20, MDA-MB-415, MDA-MB-468). Antagomir-mediated knock-down of miR-148b, miR-29c, and miR-26b significantly increased DNMT3b mRNA in non-hypermethylator cell lines, and re-expression of miR-148b, miR-29c, and miR-26b following transfection of pre-miR precursors significantly reduced DNMT3b mRNA in hypermethylator cell lines. These findings strongly suggest that: i) post-transcriptional regulation of DNMT3b is combinatorial, ii) diminished expression of regulatory miRs contributes to DNMT3b overexpression, iii) re-expression of regulatory miRs reduces DNMT3b mRNA levels in hypermethylator breast cancer cell lines, and iv) down-regulation of regulatory miRs increases DNMT3b mRNA levels in non-hypermethylator breast cancer cell lines. In conlcusion, the molecular mechanism governing the DNMT3b-mediated hypermethylation defect in breast cancer cell lines involves the loss of post-transcriptional regulation of DNMT3b by regulatory miRs.
PMCID: PMC3982716  PMID: 22664488
hypermethylator phenotype; DNMT3b; microRNAs; breast cancer
5.  Meta-analysis of human lung cancer microRNA expression profiling studies comparing cancer tissues with normal tissues 
Lung cancer is the major cause of cancer death globally, it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage and has one of the lowest survival rates of any type of cancer. The common interest in the field of lung cancer research is the identification of biomarkers for early diagnosis and accurate prognosis. There is increasing evidence to suggest that microRNAs play important and complex roles in lung cancer.
A meta-analysis was conducted to review the published microRNA expression profiling studies that compared the microRNAs expression profiles in lung cancer tissues with those in normal lung tissues. A vote-counting strategy that considers the total number of studies reporting its differential expression, the total number of tissue samples used in the studies and the average fold change was employed.
A total of 184 differentially expressed microRNAs were reported in the fourteen microRNA expression profiling studies that compared lung cancer tissues with normal tissues, with 61 microRNAs were reported in at least two studies. In the panel of consistently reported up-regulated microRNAs, miR-210 was reported in nine studies and miR-21 was reported in seven studies. In the consistently reported down-regulated microRNAs, miR-126 was reported in ten studies and miR-30a was reported in eight studies. Four up-regulated microRNAs (miR-210, miR-21, miR-31 and miR-182) and two down-regulated mcroiRNAs (miR-126 and miR-145) were consistently reported both in squamous carcinoma and adenocarcinoma-based subgroup analysis, with the other 14 microRNAs solely reported in one or the other subset.
In conclusion, the top two most consistently reported up-regulated microRNAs were miR-210 and miR-21. The results of this meta-analysis of human lung cancer microRNA expression profiling studies might provide some clues of the potential biomarkers in lung cancer. Further mechanistic and external validation studies are needed for their clinical significance and role in the development of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3502083  PMID: 22672859
MicroRNAs; Profiling; Lung cancer; Meta-analysis
6.  Validation of Expression Patterns for Nine miRNAs in 204 Lymph-Node Negative Breast Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48692.
Although lymph node negative (LN-) breast cancer patients have a good 10-years survival (∼85%), most of them still receive adjuvant therapy, while only some benefit from this. More accurate prognostication of LN- breast cancer patient may reduce over- and under-treatment. Until now proliferation is the strongest prognostic factor for LN- breast cancer patients. The small molecule microRNA (miRNA) has opened a new window for prognostic markers, therapeutic targets and/or therapeutic components. Previously it has been shown that miR-18a/b, miR-25, miR-29c and miR-106b correlate to high proliferation.
The current study validates nine miRNAs (miR-18a/b miR-25, miR-29c, miR-106b, miR375, miR-424, miR-505 and let-7b) significantly correlated with established prognostic breast cancer biomarkers. Total RNA was isolated from 204 formaldehyde-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) LN- breast cancers and analyzed with quantitative real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). Independent T-test was used to detect significant correlation between miRNA expression level and the different clinicopathological features for breast cancer.
Strong and significant associations were observed for high expression of miR-18a/b, miR-106b, miR-25 and miR-505 to high proliferation, oestrogen receptor negativity and cytokeratin 5/6 positivity. High expression of let-7b, miR-29c and miR-375 was detected in more differentiated tumours. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that patients with high miR-106b expression had an 81% survival rate vs. 95% (P = 0.004) for patients with low expression.
High expression of miR-18a/b are strongly associated with basal-like breast cancer features, while miR-106b can identify a group with higher risk for developing distant metastases in the subgroup of Her2 negatives. Furthermore miR-106b can identify a group of patients with 100% survival within the otherwise considered high risk group of patients with high proliferation. Using miR-106b as a biomarker in conjunction to mitotic activity index could thereby possibly save 18% of the patients with high proliferation from overtreatment.
PMCID: PMC3492447  PMID: 23144930
7.  MicroRNAs expression signatures are associated with lineage and survival in acute leukemias 
Blood cells, molecules & diseases  2010;44(3):191-197.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small (~22 nucleotide) non-coding RNAs whose altered expression has been associated with various types of cancers, including leukemia. In the present study, we conducted a quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis of expression of 23 human precursor miRNAs in bone marrow specimens of 85 Chinese primary leukemia patients, including 53 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 32 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases. We show that 16 miRNAs were differentially expressed between AMLs and ALLs; Of them, eight were previously reported (i.e., miR-23a, miR-27a/b, miR-128a, miR-128b, miR-221, miR-222, miR-223, and let-7b) and eight were newly identified (i.e., miR-17, miR-20a, miR-29a/c, miR-29b, miR-146a, miR-150, miR-155, and miR-196b). More importantly, through correlating miRNA expression signatures with outcome of patients, we further show that expression signatures of a group of miRNAs are associated with overall survival of patients. Of them, three (i.e., miR-146a, miR-181a/c, and miR-221), five (i.e., miR-25, miR-26a, miR-29b, miR-146a, and miR-196b), and three (i.e., miR-26a, miR-29b, and miR-146a) miRNAs are significantly associated with overall survival (P<0.05) of the 32 ALL, 53 AML, and 40 non-M3 AML patients, respectively. Particularly, the expression signature of miR-146a is significantly inversely correlated with overall survival of both ALL and AML patients. The prognostic significance of miR-146a in AML has been confirmed further in an independent study of 61 Chinese new AML patient samples. We also identified 622 putative target genes of miR-146a that are predicted by at least three out of the five major prediction programs (i.e., TragetScan, PicTar, miRanda, miRBase Targets, and PITA); Through gene ontology analysis, we found that these genes were particularly enriched (2–9 fold higher than expected by chance) in the GO categories of “negative regulation of biology processes”, “negative regulation of cellular processes”, “apoptosis”, and “cell cycle”, which may be related to the association of miR-146a with poor survival.
PMCID: PMC2829339  PMID: 20110180
microRNA; acute leukemia; lineage; survival analysis; miR-146a
8.  The expression of microRNA-375 in plasma and tissue is matched in human colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):714.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) offer great potential as cancer biomarkers. The importance of miRNAs profiling in tissue and body fluids in colorectal cancer (CRC) have been addressed respectively in many studies. The purpose of our study is to systematically assess the expression of miRNAs in cancer tissue and matched plasma samples and to evaluate their usefulness as minimally invasive diagnostic biomarkers for the detection of CRC.
The study was divided into two phases: firstly, qRT-PCR based TaqMan Low Density MiRNA Arrays (TLDAs) was used to screen the differentially expressed miRNAs in 6 plasma samples of CRC patients and 6 healthy controls. Secondly, marker validation by stem-loop reverse transcription real-time PCR using an independent set of paired cancer tissues (n = 88) and matched plasma samples (CRC, n = 88; control, n = 40). Correlation analysis was determined by Pearson’s test. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were applied to obtain diagnostic utility of the differentially expressed miRNAs. Target gene prediction and signal pathway analyses were used to predict the function of miRNAs.
TLDAs identified 42 miRNAs, which were differentially expressed in patients and healthy individuals. Five of them (miR-375, miR-150, miR-206, miR-125b and miR-126*) were chosen to be validated in plasma and tissue samples. The results indicated that for plasma sample, miR-375 (p < 0.0001) and miR-206 (p = 0.0002) were dysregulated and could discriminate CRC patients from healthy controls. For tissue samples, miR-375 (p < 0.0001), miR-150 (p < 0.0001), miR-125b (p = 0.0065) and miR-126*(p = 0.0009) were down-regulated. miR-375 was significantly down-regulated and positively correlated in both tissue and plasma samples (r = 0.4663, p = 0.0007). Gene ontology and signal pathway analyses showed that most of the target genes that were regulated by miR-375 were involved in some critical pathways in the development and progression of cancer.
Our results indicate that the down-regulation of miR-375 in plasma and tissue is matched in CRC. Moreover, bioinformatics prediction revealed miR-375 association with some critical signal pathways in the development and progression of CRC. Therefore, plasma miR-375 holds great promise to be an alternative tissue biomarker for CRC detection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-714) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4181388  PMID: 25255814
Colorectal cancer; MicroRNA; Plasma; Tissue; Biomarker; Diagnosis
9.  Epithelial and stromal expression of miRNAs during prostate cancer progression 
Global microRNA (miRNA) profile may predict prostate cancer (PCa) behaviors. In this study, we examined global miRNA expression by miRNA profiling as well as specific miRNA expression levels in PCa epithelium and stroma by in situ hybridization (ISH) and correlated with various clinicopathological features. We first performed comprehensive miRNA profiling on 27 macrodissected cases of PCa by miRNA microarray. A total of 299 miRNAs were significantly dysregulated in high grade and advanced stage PCa. We demonstrated that PCa can be readily classified into high grade/stage and low-grade/stage groups by its global miRNA expression profile. Next, we examined the expression of several selected dysregulated miRNAs, including let-7c, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-30c, and miR-219, in PCa by ISH. The levels of miRNA expression in epithelial and stromal cells were scored semiquantitatively and compared with clinicopathological features, including age, race, Gleason score, stage, PSA recurrence, metastasis, hormone resistance and survival. We found that the expression of miR-30c and miR-219 were significantly down-regulated in PCa. miR-21 and miR-30c were significantly down-regulated in PCa in African Americans compared to Caucasian Americans. In addition, down-regulation of let-7c, miR-21, miR-30c, and miR-219 are associated with metastatic disease. Furthermore, down-regulation of miR-30c and let-7c are significantly associated with androgen-dependent PCa. In PCa stromal cells, let-7c downregulation is significantly associated with extraprostatic extension. Our data suggest that selected miRNAs may serve as potential biomarkers to predict cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC4113495  PMID: 25075250
miRNA; prostate cancer progression
10.  Prognostic Values of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer 
Biomarker insights  2006;2:113-121.
The functions of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumorigenesis are just beginning to emerge. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified a number of miRNAs that were deregulated in colon cancer cell lines due to the deletion of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In this study, the in vivo significance of some of these miRNAs was further evaluated using colorectal clinical samples. Ten miRNAs (hsa-let-7b, hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-miR-191, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-30a-5p and hsa-miR-30c) were evaluated for their potential prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients. Forty eight snap frozen clinical colorectal samples (24 colorectal cancer and 24 paired normal patient samples) with detailed clinical follow-up information were selected. The expression levels of 10 miRNAs were quantified via qRT-PCR analysis. The statistical significance of these markers for disease prognosis was evaluated using a two tailed paired Wilcoxon test. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was generated followed by performing a Logrank test. Among the ten miRNAs, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0278), hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0002), hsa-miR-191 (p = 0.0264) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0017) were significantly over-expressed in tumors compared to normal colorectal samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that hsa-miR-200c was significantly associated with patient survival (p = 0.0122). The patients (n = 15) with higher hsa-miR-200c expression had a shorter survival time (median survival = 26 months) compared to patients (n = 9) with lower expression (median survival = 38 months). Sequencing analysis revealed that hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0098) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0322) expression were strongly associated with the mutation status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Some of these miRNAs may function as oncogenes due to their over-expression in tumors. hsa-miR-200c may be a potential novel prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2134920  PMID: 18079988
hsa-miR-200c; micro-RNA; prognosis; colorectal cancer
11.  Prognostic Values of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer 
Biomarker Insights  2007;1:113-121.
The functions of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumorigenesis are just beginning to emerge. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified a number of miRNAs that were deregulated in colon cancer cell lines due to the deletion of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In this study, the in vivo significance of some of these miRNAs was further evaluated using colorectal clinical samples. Ten miRNAs (hsa-let-7b, hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-miR-191, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-30a-5p and hsa-miR-30c) were evaluated for their potential prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients. Forty eight snap frozen clinical colorectal samples (24 colorectal cancer and 24 paired normal patient samples) with detailed clinical follow-up information were selected. The expression levels of 10 miRNAs were quantified via qRT-PCR analysis. The statistical significance of these markers for disease prognosis was evaluated using a two tailed paired Wilcoxon test. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was generated followed by performing a Logrank test. Among the ten miRNAs, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0278), hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0002), hsa-miR-191 (p = 0.0264) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0017) were significantly over-expressed in tumors compared to normal colorectal samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that hsa-miR-200c was significantly associated with patient survival (p = 0.0122). The patients (n = 15) with higher hsa-miR-200c expression had a shorter survival time (median survival = 26 months) compared to patients (n = 9) with lower expression (median survival = 38 months). Sequencing analysis revealed that hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0098) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0322) expression were strongly associated with the mutation status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Some of these miRNAs may function as oncogenes due to their over-expression in tumors. hsa-miR-200c may be a potential novel prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2134920  PMID: 18079988
hsa-miR-200c; micro-RNA; prognosis; colorectal cancer
12.  The expression profile of microRNAs in a model of 7,12-dimethyl-benz[a]anthrance-induced oral carcinogenesis in Syrian hamster 
Non-coding RNA molecules, such as microRNAs, may play an important role in carcinogenesis. Recent studies have indicated that microRNAs are involved in initiation and progression of various malignancies. However, little work has been done to compare the microRNA expression patterns in oral cancer. In this study, we constructed an animal model of oral squamous cell carcinoma to investigate expression profiles of microRNAs in oral carcinogenesis.
The animal model of oral squamous cell carcinoma was conducted by tri-weekly (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) painting with 5% DMBA in acetone. Six Syrian hamsters, including three from the treated group and three from the control group, were used as a training group for microRNA microarray analysis. All microarray data were analyzed by Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) and CLUSTER 3.0 software, and this result was further confirmed by qRT-PCR assay.
Seventeen microRNAs were differentially expressed in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Five microRNAs (hsa-miR-21, hsa-miR-200b, hsa-miR-221, hsa-miR-338, and mmu-miR-762) were significantly upregulated and twelve microRNAs (hsa-miR-16, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-29a, hsa-miR-124a, hsa-miR-125b, mmu-miR-126-5p, hsa-miR-143, hsa-miR-145, hsa-miR-148b, hsa-miR-155, hsa-miR-199a, and hsa-miR-203) were down-regulated in cancer tissues. The expression levels of hsa-miR-21 and hsa-miR-16 seen with Stem-loop qRT-PCR were also seen in microarray analysis in all samples.
Our findings identified specific microRNA expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma and suggested that microRNAs have a role in oral carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2687417  PMID: 19435529
13.  Five microRNAs in plasma as novel biomarkers for screening of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):149.
In order to find novel noninvasive biomarkers with high accuracy for the screening of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we investigate the predictive power of 5 microRNAs (miR-20a, miR-145, miR-21, miR223 and miR-221) as potential biomarkers in early-stage NSCLC.
In training set, 25 early-stage NSCLC patients and 25 matched healthy controls are included to assess the miRNA expression profile between early-stage NSCLC patients and healthy controls by real-time RT-PCR. We found that five of these miRNAs (miR-20a, miR-223, miR-21, miR-221 and miR-145) levels in NSCLC patients were significantly dysregulated compared with the healthy groups and thus were selected to validation set. Therefore, a validation experiment was further performed to investigate the potential predictive power of these five miRNAs based on 126 early-stage NSCLC patients, 42 NCPD patients and 60 healthy controls. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated for the five miRNAs.
ROC curve analyses suggested that these five plasma miRNAs could be promising biomarkers for NSCLC, with relatively high AUC values as follows: miR-20a, 0.89 with 95% CI of [0.85-0.93]; miR-223, 0.94 with 95% CI of [0.91-0.96]; miR-21, 0.77 with 95% CI of [0.71-0.83]; miR-155, 0.92 with 95% CI of [0.89-0.96]; miR-145, 0.77 with 95% CI of [0.71-0.83]. Stratified analyses indicated that plasma miR-20a, miR-223, miR-21 and miR-145 showed better predictive value in smokers than in non-smokers, while miR-155 might be more suitable for non-smokers. In addition, all of these five miRNAs could differentiate NSCLC from controls with a higher accuracy in advanced stage and squamous carcinoma subgroups.
In conclusion, our study suggested that five plasma miRNAs (miR-20a, miR-145, miR-21, miR-223 and miR-221) can be used as promising biomarkers in early screening of NSCLC. Nevertheless, further validation and optimizing improvement should be performed on larger sample to confirm our results.
PMCID: PMC4248445  PMID: 25421010
MicroRNAs; Plasma; Non-small cell lung cancer; Screening
14.  Microrna profiling analysis of differences between the melanoma of young adults and older adults 
This study represents the first attempt to perform a profiling analysis of the intergenerational differences in the microRNAs (miRNAs) of primary cutaneous melanocytic neoplasms in young adult and older age groups. The data emphasize the importance of these master regulators in the transcriptional machinery of melanocytic neoplasms and suggest that differential levels of expressions of these miRs may contribute to differences in phenotypic and pathologic presentation of melanocytic neoplasms at different ages.
An exploratory miRNA analysis of 666 miRs by low density microRNA arrays was conducted on formalin fixed and paraffin embedded tissues (FFPE) from 10 older adults and 10 young adults including conventional melanoma and melanocytic neoplasms of uncertain biological significance. Age-matched benign melanocytic nevi were used as controls.
Primary melanoma in patients greater than 60 years old was characterized by the increased expression of miRs regulating TLR-MyD88-NF-kappaB pathway (hsa-miR-199a), RAS/RAB22A pathway (hsa-miR-204); growth differentiation and migration (hsa-miR337), epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) (let-7b, hsa-miR-10b/10b*), invasion and metastasis (hsa-miR-10b/10b*), hsa-miR-30a/e*, hsa-miR-29c*; cellular matrix components (hsa-miR-29c*); invasion-cytokinesis (hsa-miR-99b*) compared to melanoma of younger patients. MiR-211 was dramatically downregulated compared to nevi controls, decreased with increasing age and was among the miRs linked to metastatic processes. Melanoma in young adult patients had increased expression of hsa-miR-449a and decreased expression of hsa-miR-146b, hsa-miR-214*. MiR-30a* in clinical stages I-II adult and pediatric melanoma could predict classification of melanoma tissue in the two extremes of age groups. Although the number of cases is small, positive lymph node status in the two age groups was characterized by the statistically significant expression of hsa-miR-30a* and hsa-miR-204 (F-test, p-value < 0.001).
Our findings, although preliminary, support the notion that the differential biology of melanoma at the extremes of age is driven, in part, by deregulation of microRNA expression and by fine tuning of miRs that are already known to regulate cell cycle, inflammation, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)/stroma and more specifically genes known to be altered in melanoma. Our analysis reveals that miR expression differences create unique patterns of frequently affected biological processes that clearly distinguish old age from young age melanomas. This is a novel characterization of the miRnomes of melanocytic neoplasms at two extremes of age and identifies potential diagnostic and clinico-pathologic biomarkers that may serve as novel miR-based targeted modalities in melanoma diagnosis and treatment.
PMCID: PMC2855523  PMID: 20302635
15.  Hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-125a-5p are downregulated in non-small cell lung cancer and have inverse effects on invasion and migration of lung cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:318.
Two mature microRNAs (miRNAs), hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-125a-5p (collectively referred to as hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p), are derived from 3' and 5' ends of pre-miR-125a, respectively. Although impaired regulation of hsa-miR-125a-5p has been observed in some tumors, the role of this miRNA in invasion and metastasis remains unclear, and few studies have examined the function of hsa-miR-125a-3p. In order to characterize the functions of hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p in invasion and metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we investigated the relationships between hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p expression and lymph node metastasis in NSCLC tissues. We also explored the impact of expression of these miRNAs on invasive and migratory capabilities of lung cancer cells.
Expression of hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p in NSCLC tissues was explored using real-time PCR. The relationships between hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p expression and pathological stage or lymph node metastasis were assessed using the Spearman correlation test. For in vitro studies, lung cancer cells were transfected with sense and antisense 2'-O-methyl oligonucleotides for gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments. Transwell experiments were performed to evaluate cellular migration and invasion.
Expression of hsa-miR-125a-3p/5p was lower in NSCLC tissues than in adjacent normal lung tissues (LAC). Furthermore, the results from the Spearman correlation test showed a negative relationship between hsa-miR-125a-3p expression and pathological stage or lymph node metastasis and an inverse relationship between hsa-miR-125a-5p expression and pathological stage or lymph node metastasis. In vitro gain-of-function experiments indicated that hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-125a-5p function in an opposing manner, suppressing or enhancing cell migration and invasion in A549 and SPC-A-1 cell lines, respectively. These opposing functions were further validated by suppression of hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-125a-5p expression in loss-of-function experiments.
Hsa-miR-125a-3p and hsa-miR-125a-5p play distinct roles in regulation of invasive and metastatic capabilities of lung cancer cells, consistent with the opposing correlations between the expression of these miRNAs and lymph node metastasis in NSCLC. These results provide new insights into the roles of miR-125a family members in the development of NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2903529  PMID: 20569443
16.  Identification of a set of miRNAs differentially expressed in transiently TIA-depleted HeLa cells by genome-wide profiling 
T-cell intracellular antigen (TIA) proteins function as regulators of cell homeostasis. These proteins control gene expression globally at multiple levels in response to dynamic regulatory changes and environmental stresses. Herein we identified a micro(mi)RNA signature associated to transiently TIA-depleted HeLa cells and analyzed the potential role of miRNAs combining genome-wide analysis data on mRNA and miRNA profiles.
Using high-throughput miRNA expression profiling, transient depletion of TIA-proteins in HeLa cells was observed to promote significant and reproducible changes affecting to a pool of up-regulated miRNAs involving miR-30b-3p, miR125a-3p, miR-193a-5p, miR-197-3p, miR-203a, miR-210, miR-371-5p, miR-373-5p, miR-483-5p, miR-492, miR-498, miR-503-5p, miR-572, miR-586, miR-612, miR-615-3p, miR-623, miR-625-5p, miR-629-5p, miR-638, miR-658, miR-663a, miR-671-5p, miR-769-3p and miR-744-5p. Some up-regulated and unchanged miRNAs were validated and previous results confirmed by reverse transcription and real time PCR. By target prediction of the miRNAs and combined analysis of the genome-wide expression profiles identified in TIA-depleted HeLa cells, we detected connections between up-regulated miRNAs and potential target genes. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database analysis suggest that target genes are related with biological processes associated to the regulation of DNA-dependent transcription, signal transduction and multicellular organismal development as well as with the enrichment of pathways involved in cancer, focal adhesion, regulation of actin cytoskeleton, endocytosis and MAPK and Wnt signaling pathways, respectively. When the collection of experimentally defined differentially expressed genes in TIA-depleted HeLa cells was intersected with potential target genes only 7 out of 68 (10%) up- and 71 out of 328 (22%) down-regulated genes were shared. GO and KEGG database analyses showed that the enrichment categories of biological processes and cellular pathways were related with innate immune response, signal transduction, response to interleukin-1, glomerular basement membrane development as well as neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, endocytosis, lysosomes and apoptosis, respectively.
All this considered, these observations suggest that individual miRNAs could act as potential mediators of the epigenetic switch linking transcriptomic dynamics and cell phenotypes mediated by TIA proteins.
PMCID: PMC3600012  PMID: 23387986
TIA1; TIAR; miRNAs; Gene regulatory networks
17.  Reciprocal regulation of MicroRNA-99a and insulin-like growth factor I receptor signaling in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:6.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding RNA molecules can function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors in tumorigenesis. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 50%.
The expression of microRNA-99a (miR-99a) in OSCC tissues and cell lines was investigated using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. The functions of miR-99a in migration/invasion and lung colonization were determined by transwell and tail vein injection assays, respectively. Specific targets of miR-99a were determined by software prediction, correlation with target protein expression, and luciferase reporter assay. The signaling pathways involved in regulation of miR-99a were investigated using the kinase inhibitors.
We observed reduced levels of miR-99a, identified as one of the most downregulated miRNA in OSCC and all tested OSCC cell lines compared to normal oral keratinocytes. Ectopic miR-99a expression in OSCC cells markedly reduced migration and invasion in vitro as well as lung colonization in vivo. When evaluating the specific targets of miR-99a, we found that ectopic miR-99a expression downregulates insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) protein and that the expression of miR-99a correlates negatively with IGF1R protein in OSCC cells. Insertion of the 3′UTR of IGF1R mRNA into the 3′UTR of a reporter gene markedly reduced luciferase activity in OSCC cells expressing miR-99a, suggesting that miR-99a reduces luciferase activity by targeting the 3′UTR of IGF1R mRNA. When evaluating the mechanisms of miR-99a downregulation, we observed the upregulation of miR-99a expression in serum-starved conditions and its suppression in response to insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) stimulation. Inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase inhibited IGF1-induced suppression of miR-99a, suggesting the negative regulation of miR-99a expression by IGF1R signaling.
Overall, results indicate that miR-99a functions as a tumor metastasis suppressor in OSCC cells and mutually regulates IGF1R expression in a reciprocal regulation.
PMCID: PMC3895693  PMID: 24410957
MicroRNA-99a; Tumor metastasis suppressor; Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor; Reciprocal regulation; Oral squamous cell carcinoma
18.  Non-coding MicroRNAs hsa-let-7g and hsa-miR-181b are Associated with Chemoresponse to S-1 in Colon Cancer 
Cancer genomics & proteomics  2006;3(5):317-324.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs (~22 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression at a post-transcriptional level via imperfect base pairing to the 3’-UTR of their target mRNAs. Previous studies from our group identified a number of deregulated miRNAs due to the loss of p53 tumor suppressor in colon cancer cell lines. To further investigate the in vivo biological significance of these miRNAs, the expressions of hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-143, hsa-miR-145, hsa-miR-181b and hsa-miR-200c were investigated using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) colon cancer specimens to evaluate the potential relationship with chemosensitivity and tumorigenesis.
Patients and Methods
Forty-six patients with recurrent or residual colon cancer lesions were treated with the 5-fluorouracil-based antimetabolite S-1. This includes twenty-one pairs of tumor and normal samples. Total RNAs were isolated and the expression level of each particular miRNA was quantified using real time qRT-PCR analysis.
The expression levels of hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-181b and hsa-miR-200c were over-expressed in tumor tissues compared to normal tissues. The expression levels of hsa-let-7g (p=0.03; Mann-Whitney test) and hsa-miR-181b (p=0.02; Mann-Whitney test) were strongly associated with clinical response to S-1. Although hsa-let-7g and hsa-miR-181b are strongly associated with patient’s response to S-1 treatment, they are not significant prognostic factors for predicting survival.
hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-181b and hsa-miR-200c may be associated with tumorigenesis in colon cancer. In addition, hsa-let-7g and hsa-miR-181b may be potential indicators for chemoresponse to S-1 based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2170889  PMID: 18172508
miRNA; colon cancer; S-1
19.  MicroRNA expression and clinical outcomes in patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy after complete resection of non-small cell lung carcinoma 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8288-8298.
This study determined whether expression levels of a panel of biologically relevant microRNAs can be used as prognostic or predictive biomarkers in patients who participated in the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial (IALT), the largest randomized study conducted to date of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with radically resected non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Expression of miR-21, miR-29b, miR-34a/b/c, miR-155 and let-7a was determined by quantitative real-time PCR in paraffin embedded formalin fixed tumor specimens from 639 IALT patients. Prognostic and predictive value of microRNA expression for survival were studied using a Cox model, which included every factor used in the stratified randomization, clinicopathological prognostic factors and other factors statistically related to microRNA expression. Investigation of the expression pattern of microRNAs in situ was performed. We also analyzed association of TP53 mutation status and miR-34a/b/c expression, EGFR and KRAS mutation status and miR-21 and Let-7a expression, respectively. Finally, association of p16 and miR-29b expression was assessed. Overall, no significant association was found between any of the tested microRNAs and survival, with the exception of miR-21 where a deleterious prognostic effect of lowered expression was suggested. Otherwise, no single or combinatorial microRNA expression profile predicted response to adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Together, our results indicate that the miRNA expression patterns examined were neither predictive nor prognostic in a large patient cohort of radically resected NSCLC randomized to receive adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy versus follow-up only.
PMCID: PMC2970724  PMID: 20978195
non–small cell lung cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; randomized trial; biomarker; drug resistance; microRNA
20.  Prognostic Significance of miR-205 in Endometrial Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35158.
microRNAs have emerged as key regulators of gene expression, and their altered expression has been associated with tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Thus, microRNAs have potential as both cancer biomarkers and/or potential novel therapeutic targets. Although accumulating evidence suggests the role of aberrant microRNA expression in endometrial carcinogenesis, there are still limited data available about the prognostic significance of microRNAs in endometrial cancer. The goal of this study is to investigate the prognostic value of selected key microRNAs in endometrial cancer by the analysis of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues.
Experimental Design
Total RNAs were extracted from 48 paired normal and endometrial tumor specimens using Trizol based approach. The expression of miR-26a, let-7g, miR-21, miR-181b, miR-200c, miR-192, miR-215, miR-200c, and miR-205 were quantified by real time qRT-PCR expression analysis. Targets of the differentially expressed miRNAs were quantified using immunohistochemistry. Statistical analysis was performed by GraphPad Prism 5.0.
The expression levels of miR-200c (P<0.0001) and miR-205 (P<0.0001) were significantly increased in endometrial tumors compared to normal tissues. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that high levels of miR-205 expression were associated with poor patient overall survival (hazard ratio, 0.377; Logrank test, P = 0.028). Furthermore, decreased expression of a miR-205 target PTEN was detected in endometrial cancer tissues compared to normal tissues.
miR-205 holds a unique potential as a prognostic biomarker in endometrial cancer.
PMCID: PMC3325973  PMID: 22514717
21.  Impact of miR-21, miR-126 and miR-221 as Prognostic Factors of Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma with Tumor Thrombus of the Inferior Vena Cava 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109877.
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) characterized by a tumor thrombus (TT) extending into the inferior vena cava (IVC) generally indicates poor prognosis. Nevertheless, the risk for tumor recurrence after nephrectomy and thrombectomy varies. An applicable and accurate prediction system to select ccRCC patients with TT of the IVC (ccRCC/TT) at high risk after nephrectomy is urgently needed, but has not been established up to now. To our knowledge, a possible role of microRNAs (miRs) for the development of ccRCC/TT or their impact as prognostic markers in ccRCC/TT has not been explored yet. Therefore, we analyzed the expression of the previously described onco-miRs miR-200c, miR-210, miR-126, miR-221, let-7b, miR-21, miR-143 and miR-141 in a study collective of 74 ccRCC patients. Using the expression profiles of these eight miRs we developed classification systems that accurately differentiate ccRCC from non-cancerous renal tissue and ccRCC/TT from tumors without TT. In the subgroup of 37 ccRCC/TT cases we found that miR-21, miR-126, and miR-221 predicted cancer related death (CRD) accurately and independently from other clinico-pathological features. Furthermore, a combined risk score based on the expression of miR-21, miR-126 and miR-221 was developed and showed high sensitivity and specificity to predict cancer specific survival (CSS) in ccRCC/TT. Using the combined risk score we were able to classify ccRCC/TT patients correctly into high and low risk cases. The risk stratification by the combined risk score (CRS) will benefit from further cohort validation and might have potential for clinical application as a molecular prediction system to identify high- risk ccRCC/TT patients.
PMCID: PMC4184907  PMID: 25279769
22.  MicroRNAs as a potential prognostic factor in gastric cancer 
AIM: To compare the microRNA (miR) profiles in the primary tumor of patients with recurrent and non-recurrent gastric cancer.
METHODS: The study group included 45 patients who underwent curative gastrectomies from 1995 to 2005 without adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy and for whom adequate tumor content was available. Total RNA was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples, preserving the small RNA fraction. Initial profiling using miR microarrays was performed to identify potential biomarkers of recurrence after resection. The expression of the differential miRs was later verified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Findings were compared between patients who had a recurrence within 36 mo of surgery (bad-prognosis group, n = 14, 31%) and those who did not (good-prognosis group, n = 31, 69%).
RESULTS: Three miRs, miR-451, miR-199a-3p and miR-195 were found to be differentially expressed in tumors from patients with good prognosis vs patients with bad prognosis (P < 0.0002, 0.0027 and 0.0046 respectively). High expression of each miR was associated with poorer prognosis for both recurrence and survival. Using miR-451, the positive predictive value for non-recurrence was 100% (13/13). The expression of the differential miRs was verified by qRT-PCR, showing high correlation to the microarray data and similar separation into prognosis groups.
CONCLUSION: This study identified three miRs, miR-451, miR-199a-3p and miR-195 to be predictive of recurrence of gastric cancer. Of these, miR-451 had the strongest prognostic impact.
PMCID: PMC3199555  PMID: 22046085
MicroRNA; Prognosis; Recurrence; Gastric cancer
23.  MicroRNA signatures associate with pathogenesis and progression of osteosarcoma 
Cancer Research  2012;72(7):1865-1877.
Osteosarcoma remains a leading cause of cancer death in adolescents. Treatment paradigms and survival rates have not improved in two decades. Driving the lack of therapeutic inroads, the molecular etiology of osteosarcoma remains elusive. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have demonstrated far-reaching effects on the cellular biology of development and cancer. Their role in osteosarcomagenesis remains largely unexplored. Here we identify for the first time an miRNA signature reflecting the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma from surgically procured samples from human patients. The signature includes high expression of miR-181a, miR-181b, and miR-181c as well as reduced expression of miR-16, miR-29b, and miR-142-5p. We also demonstrate that miR-181b and miR-29b exhibit restricted expression to distinct cell populations in the tumor tissue. Further, higher expression of miR-27a and miR-181c* in pre-treatment biopsy samples characterized patients who developed clinical metastatic disease. In addition, higher expression of miR-451 and miR-15b in pre-treatment samples correlated with subsequent positive response to chemotherapy. In vitro and in vivo functional validation in osteosarcoma cell lines confirmed the tumor suppressive role of miR-16 and the pro-metastatic role of miR-27a. Furthermore, predicted target genes for miR-16 and miR-27a were confirmed as down-regulated by real-time PCR. Affymetrix array profiling of cDNAs from the osteosarcoma specimens and controls were interrogated according to predicted targets of miR-16, miR142-5p, miR-29b, miR-181a/b, and miR-27a. This analysis revealed positive and negative correlations highlighting pathways of known importance to osteosarcoma, as well as novel genes. Thus, our findings establish a miRNA signature associated with pathogenesis of osteosarcoma as well as critical pre-treatment biomarkers of metastasis and responsiveness to therapy.
PMCID: PMC3328547  PMID: 22350417
osteosarcoma; microRNA; chemotherapy; metastasis-related miRs; gene array
24.  Prognostic significance of differentially expressed miRNAs in esophageal cancer 
Altered microRNA (miRNA) expression has been found to promote carcinogenesis, but little is known about the role of miRNAs in esophageal cancer. In this study, we selected 10 miRNAs and analyzed their expression in 10 esophageal cancer cell lines and 158 tissue specimens using Northern blotting and in situ hybridization, respectively. We found that Let-7g, miR-21, and miR-195p were expressed in all 10 cell lines, miR-9 and miR-20a were not expressed in any of the cell lines, and miR-16-2, miR-30e, miR-34a, miR-126, and miR-200a were expressed in some of the cell lines but not others. In addition, transient transfection of miR-34a inhibited c-Met and cyclin D1 expression and esophageal cancer cell proliferation, whereas miR-16-2 suppressed RAR-β2 expression and increased tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, we found that miR-126 expression was associated with tumor cell de-differentiation and lymph node metastasis, miR-16-2 was associated with lymph node metastasis, and miR-195p was associated with higher pathologic disease stages in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that miR-16-2 expression and miR-30e expression were associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival in all esophageal cancer patients. In addition, miR-16-2, miR-30e, and miR-200a expression were associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival in esophageal adenocarcinoma patients; however, miR-16-2, miR-30e, and miR-200a expression was not associated with overall or disease-free survival in squamous cell carcinoma patients. Our data indicate that further evaluation of miR-30e and miR-16-2 as prognostic biomarkers is warranted in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. In addition, the role of miR-34a in esophageal cancer also warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC2937084  PMID: 20309880
miRNA; cell viability; gene regulation; prognosis; esophageal cancer
25.  The two most common histological subtypes of malignant germ cell tumour are distinguished by global microRNA profiles, associated with differential transcription factor expression 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:290.
We hypothesised that differences in microRNA expression profiles contribute to the contrasting natural history and clinical outcome of the two most common types of malignant germ cell tumour (GCT), yolk sac tumours (YSTs) and germinomas.
By direct comparison, using microarray data for paediatric GCT samples and published qRT-PCR data for adult samples, we identified microRNAs significantly up-regulated in YSTs (n = 29 paediatric, 26 adult, 11 overlapping) or germinomas (n = 37 paediatric). By Taqman qRT-PCR we confirmed differential expression of 15 of 16 selected microRNAs and further validated six of these (miR-302b, miR-375, miR-200b, miR-200c, miR-122, miR-205) in an independent sample set. Interestingly, the miR-302 cluster, which is over-expressed in all malignant GCTs, showed further over-expression in YSTs versus germinomas, representing six of the top eight microRNAs over-expressed in paediatric YSTs and seven of the top 11 in adult YSTs. To explain this observation, we used mRNA expression profiles of paediatric and adult malignant GCTs to identify 10 transcription factors (TFs) consistently over-expressed in YSTs versus germinomas, followed by linear regression to confirm associations between TF and miR-302 cluster expression levels. Using the sequence motif analysis environment iMotifs, we identified predicted binding sites for four of the 10 TFs (GATA6, GATA3, TCF7L2 and MAF) in the miR-302 cluster promoter region. Finally, we showed that miR-302 family over-expression in YST is likely to be functionally significant, as mRNAs down-regulated in YSTs were enriched for 3' untranslated region sequences complementary to the common seed of miR-302a~miR-302d. Such mRNAs included mediators of key cancer-associated processes, including tumour suppressor genes, apoptosis regulators and TFs.
Differential microRNA expression is likely to contribute to the relatively aggressive behaviour of YSTs and may enable future improvements in clinical diagnosis and/or treatment.
PMCID: PMC2993676  PMID: 21059207

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