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1.  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
2.  Expression of miR-34 is lost in colon cancer which can be re-expressed by a novel agent CDF 
Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Numerous cellular events, including deregulated expression of microRNAs (miRNAs), specifically the family of miR-34 consisting of miR-34a, b and c, is known to regulate the processes of growth and metastasis.
We evaluated the expression of miR-34 in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) human colon cancer tissue specimens compared to normal colonic mucosa. Moreover, we also assessed the expression of miR-34 in colon cancer cell lines treated with our newly developed synthetic analogue of curcumin referred as difluorinated curcumin (CDF) compared to well known inhibitor of methyl transferase.
We found that the expression of miR-34a and miR-34c was down-regulated in colon cancer specimens compared to normal colonic mucosa and the loss of expression was also consistent with data from colon cancer cell lines. This down-regulation was attributed to promoter hypermethylation, because we found that the treatment of colon cancer cells with 5-aza-2´-deoxycytidine, a methyltransferase inhibitor, markedly induced the levels of miR-34a and miR-34c expression. Likewise, CDF was very effective in the re-expression of miR-34a and miR-34c, which was consistent with inhibition of cell growth of both chemo-sensitive and chemo-resistant colon cancer cells. The re-expression of miR-34 led to a marked reduction in the expression of its target gene, Notch-1.
The loss of expression of miR-34 in colon cancer is in part due to promoter hypermethylation of miR-34, which can be re-expressed with our novel agent CDF, suggesting that CDF could be a novel demethylating agent for restoring the expression of miR-34 family, and thus CDF could become a newer therapeutic agent for the treatment of colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3464169  PMID: 22992310
MiR34a; MiR-34c; Colon cancer; CDF; Methylation
3.  microRNAs are Stable in Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Archival Tissue Specimens of Colorectal Cancers Stored for up to 28 Years 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have prognostic and therapeutic value for colorectal cancers (CRCs). Although formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues are available for biomarker studies, the stability of miRNAs in these tissues stored for long periods (>20 years) is unknown. The present effort involved analysis of 345 FFPE CRC tissues, stored for 6 to 28 years (1982-2004), for the expression of six miRNAs (miR-20a, miR-21, miR-106a, miR-181b, miR-203, and miR-324-5p) using TaqMan® microRNA assays and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Evaluation, by linear regression analysis, of miRNA expression among archived CRC tissues found similar levels of all six miRNAs in tissues stored over this period (correlation coefficients, R2, ranged from <0.0001-0.009; and t-test p-values were ≥ 0.05). Thus, miRNAs are stable in FFPE tissues stored for long periods of time, and such samples can be used for discovery of biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3681606  PMID: 22202009
miRNA; Colorectal Cancer; FFPE; Stability; Biomarkers
4.  Effects of the miR-143/-145 microRNA Cluster on the Colon Cancer Proteome and Transcriptome 
Journal of proteome research  2012;11(9):4744-4754.
The miR-143/-145 cluster is greatly reduced in several cancers, including colon cancer. Both miR-143 and miR-145 have been shown to possess antitumorigenic activity with involvement in various cancer-related events such as proliferation, invasion and migration. As the deregulation of the miR-143/-145 cluster is implicated in tumorigenesis, we combined SILAC and microarray analyses to systematically interrogate the impact of miR-143/-145 on the colon cancer proteome and transcriptome. Using SILAC we identified over 2000 proteins after reintroduction of miR-143 and miR-145, in the colon cancer cell line SW480, individually and then, in concert. Our goal was to determine whether these microRNAs function individually or synergistically. The resulting regulated gene products showed evidence of both mRNA destabilization and translational inhibition with a bias towards the former mechanism of regulation. Numerous candidate targets were identified whose expression is attributable to an individual microRNA or whose regulation was more apparent following reintroduction of the miR-143/-145 cluster. In addition, several shared targets of miR-143 and miR-145 were identified. Overall, our results indicate that the summed effects of individually introduced microRNAs produce distinct molecular changes from the consequences of the assembled cluster. We conclude that there is a need to investigate both the individual and combined functional implications of a microRNA cluster.
PMCID: PMC3446753  PMID: 22897626
SILAC; microRNA; miR-143; miR-145; Colon cancer
5.  MicroRNA in Cervical Cancer: OncomiRs and Tumor Suppressor miRs in Diagnosis and Treatment 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:178075.
Cervical cancer is a female-specific disease with a high incidence and mortality. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are implicated in posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression and in the pathogenic mechanisms of cancer, suggesting their importance in diagnosis and treatment. miRNAs may have roles in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer based on the increases or decreases in several specific miRNAs found in patients with this disease. The miRNAs implicated in cervical cancer are miR-21, miR-126, and miR-143, and clinical application of these miRNAs for diagnosis and treatment is under investigation. Methods for diagnosis of cervical cancer include analysis of changes in the levels of specific miRNAs in serum and determination of aberrant hypermethylation of miRNAs. Supplementation of miR-143 or inhibition of miR-21 activity in vivo may be therapeutic strategy for cervical cancer. Previous approaches to development of siRNA as a drug have provided information for establishment of therapy based on these approaches, and an anti-miR-21 inhibitor has been developed. miRNAs also have effects on drug resistance and may be useful in combination therapy with other drugs.
PMCID: PMC3910129  PMID: 24516357
6.  Expression and clinicopathological significance of miR-146a in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues 
Aberrant expression of microRNA-146a (miR-146a) has been found in several classes of cancers. However, its expression and clinicopathological contribution in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been fully elucidated.
To explore the clinicopathological significance of the miR-146a level in HCC formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.
Eighty-five HCC samples and their para-cancerous normal liver tissues were collected. Total mRNA including miRNA was extracted, and miR-146a expression was determined using real-time RT-PCR. Furthermore, the correlation between the miR-146a expression and clinicopathological parameters was investigated.
MicroRNA-146a expression in HCC tissues was lower compared with that in adjacent non-cancerous hepatic tissues. MicroRNA-146a expression was also related to clinical TNM stage, metastasis, portal vein tumor embolus, and number of tumor nodes.
Down-regulation of miR-146a is related to HCC carcinogenesis and deterioration of HCC. MicroRNA-146a may act as a suppressor miRNA of HCC, and it is therefore a potential prognostic biomarker for HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3916713  PMID: 24172202
Hepatocellular carcinoma; metastasis; miR-146a; oncogenes; paraffin-embedded tissues; pathology; RT-qPCR; tumor biology
7.  High levels of microRNA-21 in the stroma of colorectal cancers predict short disease-free survival in stage II colon cancer patients 
Approximately 25% of all patients with stage II colorectal cancer will experience recurrent disease and subsequently die within 5 years. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is upregulated in several cancer types and has been associated with survival in colon cancer. In the present study we developed a robust in situ hybridization assay using high-affinity Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) probes that specifically detect miR-21 in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue samples. The expression of miR-21 was analyzed by in situ hybridization on 130 stage II colon and 67 stage II rectal cancer specimens. The miR-21 signal was revealed as a blue chromogenic reaction, predominantly observed in fibroblast-like cells located in the stromal compartment of the tumors. The expression levels were measured using image analysis. The miR-21 signal was determined as the total blue area (TB), or the area fraction relative to the nuclear density (TBR) obtained using a red nuclear stain. High TBR (and TB) estimates of miR-21 expression correlated significantly with shorter disease-free survival (p = 0.004, HR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.06–1.55) in the stage II colon cancer patient group, whereas no significant correlation with disease-free survival was observed in the stage II rectal cancer group. In multivariate analysis both TB and TBR estimates were independent of other clinical parameters (age, gender, total leukocyte count, K-RAS mutational status and MSI). We conclude that miR-21 is primarily a stromal microRNA, which when measured by image analysis identifies a subgroup of stage II colon cancer patients with short disease-free survival.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10585-010-9355-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2998639  PMID: 21069438
MicroRNA; MiR-21; Colorectal cancer; In situ hybridization; LNA
8.  MicroRNA expression in Epstein-Barr virus-associated post-transplant smooth muscle tumours is related to leiomyomatous phenotype 
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated post-transplant smooth muscle tumours (PTSMT) are rare complications. In our previous molecular analysis, we have evaluated the expression of regulatory microRNA which are known to be EBV-related (miR-146a and miR-155) but found no deregulation in PTSMT. In this current analysis, we aimed to characterize the expression profiles of several hundred microRNA. Tissue samples from PTSMT and uterine leiomyomas were analysed by quantitative real-time PCR for the expression of 365 mature microRNA. PTSMT and leiomyomas share a highly similar microRNA profile, e.g. strong expression of miR-143/miR-145 cluster and low expression of miR-200c. Among EBV-related microRNA (miR-10b, miR-21, miR-29b, miR-34a, miR-127, miR-146a, miR-155, miR-200b, miR-203 and miR-429) only miR-10b and miR-203 were significantly deregulated. The expression pattern of microRNA in PTSMT is not associated with EBV infection but reflects the leiomyomatous differentiation of the tumour cells.
PMCID: PMC3706214  PMID: 23830214
Epstein-Barr virus; EBV; Post-transplant smooth muscle tumour; PTSMT; MicroRNA
9.  Optimization and analysis of a quantitative real-time PCR-based technique to determine microRNA expression in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:47.
MicroRNAs (miRs) are non-coding RNA molecules involved in post-transcriptional regulation, with diverse functions in tissue development, differentiation, cell proliferation and apoptosis. miRs may be less prone to degradation during formalin fixation, facilitating miR expression studies in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.
Our study demonstrates that the TaqMan Human MicroRNA Array v1.0 (Early Access) platform is suitable for miR expression analysis in FFPE tissue with a high reproducibility (correlation coefficients of 0.95 between duplicates, p < 0.00001) and outlines the optimal performance conditions of this platform using clinical FFPE samples. We also outline a method of data analysis looking at differences in miR abundance between FFPE and fresh-frozen samples. By dividing the profiled miR into abundance strata of high (Ct<30), medium (30≤Ct≤35), and low (Ct>35), we show that reproducibility between technical replicates, equivalent dilutions, and FFPE vs. frozen samples is best in the high abundance stratum. We also demonstrate that the miR expression profiles of FFPE samples are comparable to those of fresh-frozen samples, with a correlation of up to 0.87 (p < 0.001), when examining all miRs, regardless of RNA extraction method used. Examining correlation coefficients between FFPE and fresh-frozen samples in terms of miR abundance reveals correlation coefficients of up to 0.32 (low abundance), 0.70 (medium abundance) and up to 0.97 (high abundance).
Our study thus demonstrates the utility, reproducibility, and optimization steps needed in miR expression studies using FFPE samples on a high-throughput quantitative PCR-based miR platform, opening up a realm of research possibilities for retrospective studies.
PMCID: PMC2902407  PMID: 20573258
10.  Elevated expression of mature miR-21 and miR-155 in cancerous gastric tissues from Chinese patients with gastric cancer 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2010;24(3):187-197.
MicroRNA (miRNA) expression is deregulated in many types of human cancers. We sought to investigate the expression patterns of the miRNAs, miR-21, miR-145 and miR-155 in sporadic gastric cancer in a Chinese population.
Total RNA was extracted from archived gastric cancer tissues and adjacent non-cancerous tissues from 20 pairs of paraffin-embedded specimens. Expression levels of miR-21, miR-145 and miR-155 were detected by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR using a specific stem-loop primer, with U6 as the internal reference gene.
The expression of miR-21 and miR-155 in gastric cancer samples was significantly higher than in paired non-cancerous samples (P < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in expression levels of miR-145 between cancerous and non-cancerous tissues (P > 0.05).
In Chinese sporadic gastric cancer tissues, the expressions of the oncogenic miR-21 and miR-155 were significantly up-regulated, while the expression of the tumor suppressor miR-145 was decreased, although this decrease was not statistically significant. Thus there is specificity in the miRNA expression pattern in gastric cancers in the Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC3596554  PMID: 23554630
MicroRNA; expression; gastric cancer
11.  MicroRNA-143 suppresses gastric cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis by targeting COX-2 
AIM: To investigate the function of microRNA-143 (miR-143) in gastric cancer and explore the target genes of miR-143.
METHODS: A quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis was performed to evaluate miR-143 expression in gastric cancer cell lines. After transfecting gastric cancer cells with miR-143-5p and miR-143-3p precursors, Alamar blue and apoptosis assays were used to measure the respective proliferation and apoptosis rates. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression was determined by real-time RT-PCR and Western blot assays after miR-143 transfection. Reporter plasmids were constructed, and a luciferase reporter assay was used to identify the miR-143 binding site on COX-2.
RESULTS: Both miR-143-5p and miR-143-3p were significantly downregulated in multiple gastric cancer cell lines. Forced miR-143-5p and miR-143-3p expression in gastric cancer cells produced a profound cytotoxic effect. MiR-145-5p transfection into gastric cancer cells resulted in a greater growth inhibitory effect (61.23% ± 3.16% vs 46.58% ± 4.28%, P < 0.05 in the MKN-1 cell line) and a higher apoptosis rate (28.74% ± 1.93% vs 22.13% ± 3.31%, P < 0.05 in the MKN-1 cell line) than miR-143-3p transfection. Further analysis indicated that COX-2 expression was potently suppressed by miR-143-5p but not by miR-143-3p. The activity of a luciferase reporter construct that contained the 3’-untranslated region (UTR) of COX-2 was downregulated by miR-143-5p (43.6% ± 4.86%, P < 0.01) but not by miR-143-3p. A mutation in the miR-145-5p binding site completely ablated the regulatory effect on luciferase activity, which suggests that there is a direct miR-145-5p binding site in the 3’-UTR of COX-2.
CONCLUSION: Both miR-143-5p and miR-143-3p function as anti-oncomirs in gastric cancer. However, miR-143-5p alone directly targets COX-2, and it exhibits a stronger tumor suppressive effect than miR-143-3p.
PMCID: PMC3837276  PMID: 24616567
Gastric cancer; MicroRNA-143; Anti-oncomir; Cyclooxygenase-2; Apoptosis
12.  MicroRNA, hsa-miR-200c, is an independent prognostic factor in pancreatic cancer and its upregulation inhibits pancreatic cancer invasion but increases cell proliferation 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:169.
Recently, the microRNA-200 family was reported to affect cancer biology by regulating epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Especially, the expression of miR-200c has been shown to be associated with upregulating the expression of E-cadherin, a gene known to be involved in pancreatic cancer behavior. However, the significance of miR-200c in pancreatic cancer is unknown.
In the present study, we investigated the relationship between E-cadherin and miR-200c expression in a panel of 14 pancreatic cancer cell lines and in macro-dissected formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples obtained from 99 patients who underwent pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer. We also investigated the effects of miR-200c on the proliferation and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells.
We found that patients with high levels of miR-200c expression had significantly better survival rates than those with low levels of miR-200c expression. We also found a remarkably strong correlation between the levels of miR-200c and E-cadherin expression.
These data indicate that miR-200c may play a role in the pancreatic cancer biology and may be a novel marker for the prognosis of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC2909980  PMID: 20579395
13.  Tumor-suppressive microRNA-29a inhibits cancer cell migration and invasion via targeting HSP47 in cervical squamous cell carcinoma 
International Journal of Oncology  2013;43(6):1855-1863.
Our recent studies of microRNA (miRNA) expression signatures indicated that microRNA-29a (miR-29a) was significantly downregulated in several types of human cancers, suggesting that miR-29a may be a putative tumor-suppressive miRNA in human cancers. The aim of this study was to investigate the functional significance of miR-29a in cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and to identify novel miR-29a-regulated cancer pathways and target genes involved in cervical SCC oncogenesis and metastasis. Restoration of miR-29a in cervical cancer cell lines (CaSKi, HeLa, ME180 and Yumoto) revealed that this miRNA significantly inhibited cancer cell migration and invasion. Gene expression data and in silico analysis demonstrated that heat-shock protein 47 (HSP47), a member of the serpin superfamily of serine proteinase inhibitors and a molecular chaperone involved in the maturation of collagen molecules, was a potential target of miR-29a regulation. Luciferase reporter assays showed that miR-29a directly regulated HSP47. Moreover, silencing of the HSP47 gene significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion in cancer cells and the expression of HSP47 was upregulated in cancer tissues and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), as demonstrated by immunostaining. Downregulation of miR-29a was a frequent event in cervical SCC and miR-29a acted as a tumor suppressor by directly targeting HSP47. Recognition of tumor-suppressive miRNA-regulated molecular targets provides new insights into the potential mechanisms of cervical SCC oncogenesis and metastasis and suggests novel therapeutic strategies for treatment of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3834344  PMID: 24141696
miR-29a; tumor suppressor; cervical cancer; HSP47; migration; invasion
14.  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
15.  The tumour-suppressive function of miR-1 and miR-133a targeting TAGLN2 in bladder cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(5):808-818.
On the base of the microRNA (miRNA) expression signature of bladder cancer (BC), we found that miR-1 and miR-133a were significantly downregulated in BC. In this study, we focussed on the functional significance of miR-1 and miR-133a in BC cell lines and identified a molecular network of these miRNAs.
Methods and results:
We investigated the miRNA expression signature of BC clinical specimens and identified several downregulated miRNAs (miR-133a, miR-204, miR-1, miR-139-5p, and miR-370). MiR-1 and miR-133a showed potential role of tumour suppressors by functional analyses of BC cells such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion assays. Molecular target searches of these miRNAs showed that transgelin 2 (TAGLN2) was directly regulated by both miR-1 and miR-133a. Silencing of TAGLN2 study demonstrated significant inhibitions of cell proliferation and increase of apoptosis in BC cell lines. The immunohistochemistry showed a positive correlation between TAGLN2 expression and tumour grade in clinical BC specimens.
The downregulation of miR-1 and miR-133a was a frequent event in BC, and these miRNAs were recognised as tumour suppressive. TAGLN2 may be a target of both miRNAs and had a potential oncogenic function. Therefore, novel molecular networks provided by miRNAs may provide new insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms of BC.
PMCID: PMC3048214  PMID: 21304530
TAGLN2; microRNA; miR-1; miR-133a; bladder cancer
16.  Comparison of MicroRNA Deep Sequencing of Matched Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded and Fresh Frozen Cancer Tissues 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64393.
MicroRNAs regulate several aspects of tumorigenesis and cancer progression. Most cancer tissues are archived formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE). While microRNAs are a more stable form of RNA thought to withstand FFPE-processing and degradation there is only limited evidence for the latter assumption. We examined whether microRNA profiling can be successfully conducted on FFPE cancer tissues using SOLiD ligation based sequencing. Tissue storage times (2–9 years) appeared to not affect the number of detected microRNAs in FFPE samples compared to matched frozen samples (paired t-test p>0.7). Correlations of microRNA expression values were very high across microRNAs in a given sample (Pearson’s r = 0.71–0.95). Higher variance of expression values among samples was associated with higher correlation coefficients between FFPE and frozen tissues. One of the FFPE samples in this study was degraded for unknown reasons with a peak read length of 17 nucleotides compared to 21 in all other samples. The number of detected microRNAs in this sample was within the range of microRNAs detected in all other samples. Ligation-based microRNA deep sequencing on FFPE cancer tissues is feasible and RNA degradation to the degree observed in our study appears to not affect the number of microRNAs that can be quantified.
PMCID: PMC3655971  PMID: 23696889
17.  Increased miR-708 Expression in NSCLC and Its Association with Poor Survival in Lung Adenocarcinoma from Never Smokers 
MicroRNA plays an important role in human diseases and cancer. We seek to investigate the expression status, clinical relevance, and functional role of microRNA in non-small cell lung cancer.
Experimental Design
We performed miRNA expression profiling in matched lung adenocarcinoma and uninvolved lung using 56 pairs of fresh-frozen (FF) and 47 pairs of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples from never smokers. The most differentially expressed miRNA genes were evaluated by Cox analysis and Log-Rank test. Among the best candidate, miR-708 was further examined for differential expression in two independent cohorts. Functional significance of miR-708 expression in lung cancer was examined by identifying its candidate mRNA target and through manipulating its expression levels in cultured cells.
Among the 20 miRNAs most differentially expressed between tested tumor and normal samples, high expression level of miR-708 in the tumors was most strongly associated with an increased risk of death after adjustments for all clinically significant factors including age, sex, and tumor stage (FF cohort: HR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.08-3.35; P=.025 and FFPE cohort: HR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.02-3.63; P=.042). The transcript for TMEM88 gene has a miR-708 binding site in its 3′ UTR and was significantly reduced in tumors high of miR-708. Forced miR-708 expression reduced TMEM88 transcript levels and increased the rate of cell proliferation, invasion, and migration in culture.
MicroRNA-708 acts as an oncogene contributing to tumor growth and disease progression by directly down regulating TMEM88, a negative regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway in lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3616503  PMID: 22573352
NSCLC; adenocarcinoma; miR-708; never smoker; survival; TMEM88; Wnt signaling
18.  MicroRNA-21 regulates breast cancer invasion partly by targeting tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 expression 
MicroRNAs are non-coding RNA molecules that posttranscriptionally regulate expression of target genes and have been implicated in the progress of cancer proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether microRNA-21 (miR-21), a specific microRNA implicated in multiple aspects of carcinogenesis, impacts breast cancer invasion by regulating the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3) gene.
miR-21 expression was investigated in 32 matched breast cancer and normal breast tissues, and in four human breast cancer cell lines, by Taqman quantitative real-time PCR. Cell invasive ability was determined by matrigel invasion assay in vitro, in cells transfected with miR-21 or anti-miR-21 oligonucleotides. In addition, the regulation of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3) by miR-21 was evaluated by western blotting and luciferase assays.
Of the 32 paired samples analyzed, 25 breast cancer tissues displayed overexpression of miR-21 in comparison with matched normal breast epithelium. Additionally, incidence of lymph node metastasis closely correlated with miR-21 expression, suggesting a role for miR-21 in metastasis. Similarly, each of the four breast cancer cell lines analyzed overexpressed miR-21, to varied levels. Further, cells transfected with miR-21 showed significantly increased matrigel invasion compared with control cells, whereas transfection with anti-miR-21 significantly decreased cell invasion. Evaluation of TIMP3 protein levels, a peptidase involved in extarcellular matrix degredation, inversely correlated with miR-21 expression.
As knockdown of miR-21 increased TIMP3 protein expression and luciferase reporter activity, our data suggests that miR-21 could promote invasion in breast cancer cells via its regulation of TIMP3.
PMCID: PMC2853500  PMID: 20346171
19.  The Cluster of miR-143 and miR-145 Affects the Risk for Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma through Co-Regulating Fascin Homolog 1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33987.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), 18–24 nt non-coding RNAs, are thought to play important roles in cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and development. Recent studies suggest that some of the known microRNAs map to a single genomic locale within a single polycistronic transcript. But the roles of the cluster remain to be known. In order to understand the role and mechanism of a cluster of miR-143 and miR-145 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), the association of mature miR-143 and miR-145 expression with the risk for esophageal cancer was evaluated in ESCC patients with a case-control study, and target protein regulated by mature miRNA was analyzed in ESCC cell lines with 3′UTR luciferase reporter assay. The expression levels of miR-143 and miR-145 were determined in 110 pairs of esophageal cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissues using real-time reverse transcription PCR. The relative expression of miR-143 and miR-145 were statistically different between cancer tissues and matched controls. The combined expression of miR-143 and miR-145 was significantly associated with the risk for esophageal cancer. Meanwhile, the reduced expression of two miRNAs in tumor patient was supposed to have a trend of lymph node metastases. The co-expression pattern of miR-143 and miR-145 was analyzed with Pearson correlation. It showed a significant correlation between these two miRNAs expression both in tissues and tumor cell lines. 3′UTR luciferase reporter assay indicated that Fascin Homolog 1 (FSCN1) could be co-regulated by miR-143 and miR-145. The protein level of FSCN1 showed no significant linear correlation with miR-143 and miR-145 expression in ESCC cell lines with Western blotting analysis. In conclusion, since miR-143 and miR-145 could regulate oncogenic FSCN1 and take part in the modulation of metastases, the result suggested the combination variable of miR-143 and miR-145 as a potential biomarker for earlier diagnosis and prognosis of esophageal cancer.
PMCID: PMC3311581  PMID: 22457808
20.  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
21.  MicroRNA-143 targets DNA methyltransferases 3A in colorectal cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;101(4):699-706.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 19-25-nucleotides regulatory non-protein-coding RNA molecules that regulate the expressions of a wide variety of genes, including some involved in cancer development. In this study, we investigated the possible role of miR-143 in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Expression levels of human mature miRNAs were examined using real-time PCR-based expression arrays on paired colorectal carcinomas and adjacent non-cancerous colonic tissues. The downregulation of miR-143 was further evaluated in colon cancer cell lines and in paired CRC and adjacent non-cancerous colonic tissues by qRT–PCR. Potential targets of miR-143 were defined. The functional effect of miR-143 and its targets was investigated in human colon cancer cell lines to confirm miRNA–target association.
Both real-time PCR-based expression arrays and qRT–PCR showed that miR-143 was frequently downregulated in 87.5% (35 of 40) of colorectal carcinoma tissues compared with their adjacent non-cancerous colonic tissues. Using in silico predictions, DNA methyltranferase 3A (DNMT3A) was defined as a potential target of miR-143. Restoration of the miR-143 expression in colon cell lines decreased tumour cell growth and soft-agar colony formation, and downregulated the DNMT3A expression in both mRNA and protein levels. DNMT3A was shown to be a direct target of miR-143 by luciferase reporter assay. Furthermore, the miR-143 expression was observed to be inversely correlated with DNMT3A mRNA and protein expression in CRC tissues.
Our findings suggest that miR-143 regulates DNMT3A in CRC. These findings elucidated a tumour-suppressive role of miR-143 in the epigenetic aberration of CRC, providing a potential development of miRNA-based targeted approaches for CRC therapy.
PMCID: PMC2736825  PMID: 19638978
miR-143; DNMT3A; colorectal cancer; tumour suppressor
22.  Role of Deregulated microRNAs in Breast Cancer Progression Using FFPE Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54213.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to cancer initiation and progression by silencing the expression of their target genes, causing either mRNA molecule degradation or translational inhibition. Intraductal epithelial proliferations of the breast are histologically and clinically classified into normal, atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). To better understand the progression of ductal breast cancer development, we attempt to identify deregulated miRNAs in this process using Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) tissues from breast cancer patients. Following tissue microdissection, we obtained 8 normal, 4 ADH, 6 DCIS and 7 IDC samples, which were subject to RNA isolation and miRNA expression profiling analysis. We found that miR-21, miR-200b/c, miR-141, and miR-183 were consistently up-regulated in ADH, DCIS and IDC compared to normal, while miR-557 was uniquely down-regulated in DCIS. Interestingly, the most significant miRNA deregulations occurred during the transition from normal to ADH. However, the data did not reveal a step-wise miRNA alteration among discrete steps along tumor progression, which is in accordance with previous reports of mRNA profiling of different stages of breast cancer. Furthermore, the expression of MSH2 and SMAD7, two important molecules involving TGF-β pathway, was restored following miR-21 knockdown in both MCF-7 and Hs578T breast cancer cells. In this study, we have not only identified a number of potential candidate miRNAs for breast cancer, but also found that deregulation of miRNA expression during breast tumorigenesis might be an early event since it occurred significantly during normal to ADH transition. Consequently, we have demonstrated the feasibility of miRNA expression profiling analysis using archived FFPE tissues, typically with rich clinical information, as a means of miRNA biomarker discovery.
PMCID: PMC3553092  PMID: 23372687
23.  Characterization of global microRNA expression reveals oncogenic potential of miR-145 in metastatic colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:374.
MicroRNAs (MiRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that control protein expression through various mechanisms. Their altered expression has been shown to be associated with various cancers. The aim of this study was to profile miRNA expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) and to analyze the function of specific miRNAs in CRC cells. MirVana miRNA Bioarrays were used to determine the miRNA expression profile in eight CRC cell line models, 45 human CRC samples of different stages, and four matched normal colon tissue samples. SW620 CRC cells were stably transduced with miR-143 or miR-145 expression vectors and analyzed in vitro for cell proliferation, cell differentiation and anchorage-independent growth. Signalling pathways associated with differentially expressed miRNAs were identified using a gene set enrichment analysis.
The expression analysis of clinical CRC samples identified 37 miRNAs that were differentially expressed between CRC and normal tissue. Furthermore, several of these miRNAs were associated with CRC tumor progression including loss of miR-133a and gain of miR-224. We identified 11 common miRNAs that were differentially expressed between normal colon and CRC in both the cell line models and clinical samples. In vitro functional studies indicated that miR-143 and miR-145 appear to function in opposing manners to either inhibit or augment cell proliferation in a metastatic CRC model. The pathways targeted by miR-143 and miR-145 showed no significant overlap. Furthermore, gene expression analysis of metastatic versus non-metastatic isogenic cell lines indicated that miR-145 targets involved in cell cycle and neuregulin pathways were significantly down-regulated in the metastatic context.
MiRNAs showing altered expression at different stages of CRC could be targets for CRC therapies and be further developed as potential diagnostic and prognostic analytes. The identified biological processes and signalling pathways collectively targeted by co-expressed miRNAs in CRC provide a basis for understanding the functional role of miRNAs in cancer.
PMCID: PMC2770572  PMID: 19843336
24.  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
25.  MicroRNA-143 Inhibits Migration and Invasion of Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer and Its Relative Mechanism 
Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in many biological processes, including cancer development. Among those miRNAs, miR-143 shows tumor-suppressive activity in some human cancers. However, the function and mechanism of miR-143 in lung cancer cells remains unknown. Here we explored the role of miR-143 in lung cancer. Results: According to qRT-PCR, we found that miR-143 was notably down-regulated in 19 NSCLC tissues and 5 cell lines. In vitro experiments showed us that miR-143 could significantly suppress the migration and invasion of NSCLC cell lines while it had no effects on the growth of NSCLC cell lines, and in vivo metastasis assay showed the same results. Finally, we found that the mechanism of miR-143 inhibiting the migration and invasion of NSCLC might be through targeting CD44v3. Conclusions: The up-regulated miR-143 in lung cancer could significantly inhibit cell migration and invasion, and this might work through targeting CD44v3, which was newly identified by us.
PMCID: PMC3729010  PMID: 23904792
NSCLC; miR-143; microRNA (miRNA); migration; invasion; CD44v3.

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