Over the last decade, it has become clear that aberrant microRNA expression has a functional role in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). Specific microRNAs can act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes depending on the cellular environment in which they are expressed. The expression of microRNAs is reproducibly altered in CRC and their expression patterns are associated with diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic outcome in CRC. Studies have begun to examine the association of microRNA related polymorphisms and their association with CRC incidence and prognosis as well as the possibility of using circulating microRNAs or fecal microRNA expression as non-invasive early detection biomarkers. These data suggest that microRNAs may be potential molecular classifiers, early detection biomarkers and therapeutic targets for CRC. Here, we will review the evidence demonstrating a role of microRNAs in CRC.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute an evolutionarily conserved class of small non-coding RNAs that are endogenously expressed with crucial functions in fundamental cellular processes such as cell cycle, apoptosis and differentiation. Disturbance of miRNA expression and function leads to deregulation of basic cellular processes leading to tumorigenesis. A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that human tumors have deregulated expression of microRNAs, which have been proposed as novel oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Recent studies have shown that microRNA expression patterns serve as phenotypic signatures of different cancers and could be used as diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools. A few studies have analyzed global microRNA expression profiles or the functional role of microRNAs in prostate cancer. Here we have reviewed the role of microRNAs in prostate carcinogenesis by summarizing the findings from such studies. In addition, recent evidence indicates that dietary factors play an important role in the process of carcinogenesis through modulation of miRNA expression, though such studies are lacking in regards to prostate cancer. It has been proposed that dietary modulation of miRNA expression may contribute to the cancer-protective effects of dietary components. In this review, we have summarized findings from studies on the effect of dietary agents on miRNA expression and function.
diet; microRNAs; prostate cancer
During the past several years it has become clear that alterations in the expression of microRNA genes contribute to the pathogenesis of most, perhaps all, human malignancies. These alterations can be caused by a variety of mechanisms, including deletions, amplifications or mutations involving microRNA loci, by epigenetic silencing or by dysregulation of transcription factors targeting specific microRNAs. Since malignant cells show dependence on the dysregulated expression of microRNA genes, which in turn control or are controlled by dysregulation of multiple protein coding oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, these small RNAs provide important opportunities for development of future microRNA based therapies.
MicroRNAs are involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis and can function as tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes. The role of microRNAs in neuroendocrine tumors such as ileal carcinoids is largely unknown. We examined the differential expression of 95 microRNAs by RT-PCR using the QuantiMir System in eight matching primary and metastatic carcinoid tumors from the ileum. All microRNAs chosen for the QuantiMir System Array were based on their potential functions related to cancer biology, cell development and apoptosis. The expression of microRNAs for the samples was normalized to microRNA-197, and the matching primary and metastatic tumors were compared. There was down-regulation of microRNA-133a, 145, 146, 222 and 10b in all samples between the primary and matching metastatic tumors and up-regulation of microRNA-183, 488 and 19a + b in six of eight metastatic carcinoids compared to the primary tumors. MicroRNA-133a was further analyzed by TaqMan Real Time RT-PCR and Northern hybridization using six additional matching primary and metastatic samples which supported the PCR Array findings. There were significant differences in microRNA-133a expression with down-regulation in the metastasis compared to the primary in the eight original cases (p<0.009) and in the six additional cases used for validation (p<0.014). Laser capture microdissection and Real Time RT-PCR analysis using normal ileum found microRNA-133a expression in normal enterochromaffin cells. In situ hybridization in normal ileum showed that some of the mucosal endocrine cells expressed microRNA-133a. Both primary and metastatic ileal carcinoid tumors expressed microRNA-133a by in situ hybridization. These results provide information about novel marker microRNAs that may be used as biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets in intestinal carcinoid tumors.
PCR array; carcinoids; enterochromaffin cells; RT-PCR; in situ hybridization
It is controversial whether microRNA-126 is a tumor suppressive or oncogenic miRNA. More experiments are needed to determine whether microRNA-126 is associated with non-small cell lung cancer risk and prognosis.
Over-expression of microRNA-126 was performed to evaluate the cell invasion and tumor growth in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and nude mouse xenograft model. Gain-of-function experiments and luciferase assays were performed to reveal the relationship between microRNA-126 and PI3K-Akt signal pathway in A549 cells. We analyzed the associations of the microRNA-126 expression between genetic variants within microRNA-126 and clinical information including smoking status, sex, age, and histological type and the tumor stage.
Over-expression of microRNA-126 in NSCLC cell lines decreased cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in the nude mouse xenograft model. And microRNA-126 repressed the activity of PI3K-Akt pathway by targeting binding sites in the 3′-untranslated region of PI3KR2 mRNA. The expression level of microRNA-126 was decreased in NSCLC lines and tumor tissues. The patients with low microRNA-126 expression had significantly poorer survival time than those with high microRNA-126 expression (means for survival time (month): 24.392±1.055 vs. 29.282±1.140, P = 0.005). However, there was no significant difference in the genotype and allele frequencies of the microRNA-126 variant (G>A, rs4636297) between cases and controls (P = 0.366). In addition, there was no association between SNP rs4636297 and survival time in NSCLC patients (P = 0.992). And microRNA-126 expression had no significant difference among the three genotype groups (P = 0.972).
Our data indicate that microRNA-126 is a tumor-suppressor gene in NSCLC and low microRNA-126 expression is a unfavorable prognostic factor in NSCLC patients. However, the regulatory mechanism of microRNA-126 remains to be elucidated in different normal and malignant tissues. Therefore, further research is needed to explore the tumor suppressive functions of microRNA-126 in NSCLC.
It is currently well recognized that microRNA deregulation is an hallmark of human cancer, and how an aberrant expression of these tiny regulatory RNA molecules in several cell types is not just a random association, but it plays a causal role in different steps of the tumorigenic process, from the initiation and development to progression toward the acquisition of a metastatic phenotype.
Different regulatory mechanisms can control microRNA expression at a genetic or epigenetic level as well as involving the biogenesis machinery or the recruitment of specific transcription factors. The tumorigenic process implies a substantial alteration of these mechanisms, thus disrupting the equilibrium within the cell and leading to a global change in microRNA expression, with loss of oncosuppressor microRNAs and overexpression of oncomiRNAs.
Here we review the main mechanisms regulating microRNAs, and the consequences of their aberrant expression in cancer, with a glance at the possible implications at a clinical point of view.
MicroRNAs are a large class of post-transcriptional regulators that bind to the 3′ untranslated region of messenger RNAs. They play a critical role in many cellular processes and have been linked to the control of signal transduction pathways. Recent studies indicate that microRNAs can function as tumor suppressors or even as oncogenes when aberrantly expressed. For more general insights of disease-associated microRNAs, we analyzed their impact on human signaling pathways from two perspectives. On a global scale, we found a core set of signaling pathways with enriched tissue-specific microRNA targets across diseases. The function of these pathways reflects the affinity of microRNAs to regulate cellular processes associated with apoptosis, proliferation or development. Comparing cancer and non-cancer related microRNAs, we found no significant differences between both groups. To unveil the interaction and regulation of microRNAs on signaling pathways locally, we analyzed the cellular location and process type of disease-associated microRNA targets and proteins. While disease-associated proteins are highly enriched in extracellular components of the pathway, microRNA targets are preferentially located in the nucleus. Moreover, targets of disease-associated microRNAs preferentially exhibit an inhibitory effect within the pathways in contrast to disease proteins. Our analysis provides systematic insights into the interaction of disease-associated microRNAs and signaling pathways and uncovers differences in cellular locations and process types of microRNA targets and disease-associated proteins.
Human serum and other body fluids are rich resources for the identification of novel biomarkers, which can be measured in routine clinical diagnosis. microRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules, which have an important function in regulating RNA stability and gene expression. The deregulation of microRNAs has been linked to cancer development and tumor progression. Recently, it has been reported that serum and other body fluids contain sufficiently stable microRNA signatures. Thus, the profiles of circulating microRNAs have been explored in a variety of studies aiming at the identification of novel non-invasive biomarkers.
In this review, we discuss recent findings indicating that circulating microRNAs are useful as non-invasive biomarkers for different tumor types. Additionally, we summarize the knowledge about the mechanism of microRNA release and the putative functional roles of circulating microRNAs. Although several challenges remain to be addressed, circulating microRNAs have the potential to be useful for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer diseases.
MicroRNAs are being evaluated as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for colon cancer. MicroRNAs have a functional role in the initiation and progression of colon cancer. Altered microRNA expression is found in tumors and their expression patterns may serve as useful cancer biomarkers. Polymorphisms in microRNAs or microRNA binding sites may modify ones risk of developing cancer. As we continue to improve our understanding of the role for microRNAs in the initiation and progression of cancer, one goal is to gain insights that will allow for the development of microRNAs as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for cancer. This review provides a current understanding of the connection between microRNAs and colon cancer. We will cover evidence that global microRNA expression patterns are altered in colon tumors, that specific microRNAs have a functional role colon carcinogenesis, that polymorphisms in microRNAs may be associated with risk of colon cancer, and the potential for using circulating microRNAs as a non-invasive biomarker for the detection of cancer.
MicroRNA has been recently recognized as playing a prominent role in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Here, we report that miR-338-3p was epigenetically silenced in gastric cancer, and its down-regulation was significantly correlated with gastric cancer clinicopathological features. Strikingly, restoring miR-338-3p expression in SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells inhibited proliferation, migration, invasion and tumorigenicity in vitro and in vivo, at least partly through inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, we demonstrate the oncogene SSX2IP is a target of miR-338-3p. We propose that miR-338-3p functions as a tumor suppressor in gastric cancer, and the methylation status of its CpG island could serve as a potential diagnostic marker for gastric cancer.
Hypoxia plays an important role in the tumor microenvironment by allowing the development and maintenance of cancer cells, but the regulatory mechanisms by which tumor cells adapt to hypoxic conditions are not yet well understood. MicroRNAs are recognized as a new class of master regulators that control gene expression and are responsible for many normal and pathological cellular processes. Studies have shown that hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1) regulates a panel of microRNAs, whereas some of microRNAs target HIF1. The interaction between microRNAs and HIF1 can account for many vital events relevant to tumorigenesis, such as angiogenesis, metabolism, apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, proliferation, metastasis, and resistance to anticancer therapy. This review will summarize recent findings on the roles of hypoxia and microRNAs in human cancer and illustrate the machinery by which microRNAs interact with hypoxia in tumor cells. It is expected to update our knowledge about the regulatory roles of microRNAs in regulating tumor microenvironments and thus benefit the development of new anticancer drugs.
microRNA; hypoxia; HIF1; human cancer; angiogenesis; apoptosis; cell cycle; cancer metastasis; chemoresistance; radioresistance
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded, non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Genes encoding miRNAs are located in regions of the genome that are commonly amplified, deleted or rearranged. They are commonly dysregulated in human cancers and known to act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Members of the miR-200 miRNA family are downregulated in human cancer cells and tumors due to aberrant epigenetic gene silencing and play a critical role in the suppression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), tumor cell adhesion, migration, invasion and metastasis, by targeting and repressing the expression of key mRNAs that are involved in EMT (ZEB1 and ZEB2), β-catenin/Wnt signaling (β-catenin), EGFR inhibitor resistance (ERRFI-1) and chemoresistance to therapeutic agents (TUBB3). Since the miR-200 family functions as putative tumor suppressors and represent biomarkers for poorly differentiated and aggressive cancers, restoration of miR-200 expression may have therapeutic implications for the treatment of metastatic and drug-resistant tumors.
miRNAs; mir-200; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; β-catenin/Wnt signaling; microenvironment; metastasis; RNA
Every cellular process is likely to be regulated by microRNAs, and an aberrant microRNA expression signature is a hallmark of several diseases, including cancer. MicroRNA expression profiling has indeed provided evidence of the association of these tiny molecules with tumor development and progression. An increasing number of studies have then demonstrated that microRNAs can function as potential oncogenes or oncosuppressor genes, depending on the cellular context and on the target genes they regulate. Here we review our current knowledge about the involvement of microRNAs in cancer and their potential as diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools.
The contribution of aberrant DNA methylation in silencing of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) and microRNAs has been investigated. Since these epigenetic alterations are reversible, it became of interest to determine the effects of the 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (DAC) demethylation therapy in breast cancer at different molecular levels.
Methods and Findings
Here we investigate a synoptic model to predict complete DAC treatment effects at the level of genes, microRNAs and proteins for several human breast cancer lines. The present study assessed an effective treatment dosage based on the cell viability, cytotoxicity, apoptosis and methylation assays for the investigated cell lines. A highly aggressive and a non-aggressive cell line were investigated using omics approaches such as MALDI-TOF MS, mRNA- and microRNA expression arrays, 2-D gel electrophoresis and LC-MS-MS. Complete molecular profiles including the biological interaction and possible early and late systematic stable or transient effects of the methylation inhibition were determined. Beside the activation of several epigenetically suppressed TSGs, we also showed significant dysregulation of some important oncogenes, oncomiRs and oncosuppressors miRNAs as well as drug tolerance genes/miRNAs/proteins.
In the present study, the results denote some new molecular DAC targets and pathways based on the chemical modification of DNA methylation in breast cancer. The outlined approach might prove to be useful as an epigenetic treatment model also for other human solid tumors in the management of cancer patients.
miRNAs are non coding ribonucleic acids which are protected with respect to evolution, and have a length of 18–25 nucleotides. microRNAs control the gene expression after transcription, through mRNA destruction or translation processing, and therefore participate in arrangement of the physiologic and pathologic cellular processes; They also may act as oncogene or tumor suppressors. Altered expression of a number of microRNAs is reported in process of progression and metastasis of thyroid cancers. Therefore, identification of these microRNAs may shed a light to oncogenesis pathway of thyroid cancers and their metastasis. In addition, microRNAs might apply as potential biological markers in diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancers. The changes made in miRNAs profile of thyroid cancers are reviewed in this paper.
Thyroid Cancer; microRNA; Oncomir; Fascin
MicroRNA (miRNA) is an endogenous non-protein coding small RNA molecule that negatively regulates gene expression by the degradation of messenger RNA (mRNA) or the suppression of mRNA translation. miRNA plays important roles in physiologic processes such as cellular development, differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, and stem cell self-renewal. Studies show that deregulation of miRNA expression is closely associated with tumorigenicity, invasion, and metastasis. The functionality of aberrant miRNAs in cancer could act either as oncogenes or tumor suppressors during tumor initiation and progression. Similar to protein-coding gene regulation, dysregulation of miRNAs may be related to changes in miRNA gene copy numbers, epigenetic modulation, polymorphisms, or biogenesis modifications. Elucidation of the miRNA expression profiles (miRNomes) of many types of cancers is starting to decode the regulatory network of miRNA-mRNA interactions from a systems biology perspective. Experimental evidence demonstrates that modulation of specific miRNA alterations in cancer cells using miRNA replacement or anti-miRNA technologies can restore miRNA activities and repair gene regulatory networks affecting apoptotic signaling pathways or drug sensitivity, and improve the outcome of treatment. Numerous animal studies for miRNA-based therapy offer the hope of targeting miRNAs as an alternative cancer treatment. Developing the small molecules to interfere with miRNAs could be of great pharmaceutical interest in the future.
MicroRNAs are a class of small regulatory RNAs that function to modulate protein expression. This control allows for fine-tuning of the cellular phenotype, including regulation of proliferation, cell signaling, and apoptosis; not surprisingly, microRNAs contribute to liver cancer biology. Recent investigations in human liver cancers and tumor-derived cell lines have demonstrated decreased or increased expression of particular microRNAs in hepatobiliary cancer cells. Based on predicted and validated protein targets as well as functional consequences of altered expression, microRNAs with decreased expression in liver tumor cells may normally aid in limiting neoplastic transformation. Conversely, selected microRNAs that are upregulated in liver tumor cells can promote malignant features, contributing to carcinogenesis. In addition, microRNAs themselves are subject to regulated expression, including regulation by tumor suppressor and oncogene pathways. This review will focus on the expression and function of cancer-related microRNAs, including their intimate involvement in tumor suppressor and oncogene signaling networks relevant to hepatobiliary neoplasia.
Cholangiocarcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; miRNA; Oncogene; Tumor suppressor
The discovery of small non-coding RNAs and the subsequent analysis of microRNA expression patterns in human cancer specimens have provided completely new insights into cancer biology. Genetic and epigenetic data indicate oncogenic or tumor suppressor function of these pleiotropic regulators. Therefore, many studies analyzed the expression and function of microRNA in human breast cancer, the most frequent malignancy in females. However, nothing is known so far about microRNA expression in male breast cancer, accounting for approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases.
The expression of 319 microRNAs was analyzed in 9 primary human male breast tumors and in epithelial cells from 15 male gynecomastia specimens using fluorescence-labeled bead technology. For identification of differentially expressed microRNAs data were analyzed by cluster analysis and selected statistical methods.
Expression levels were validated for the most up- or down-regulated microRNAs in this training cohort using real-time PCR methodology as well as in an independent test cohort comprising 12 cases of human male breast cancer.
Unsupervised cluster analysis separated very well male breast cancer samples and control specimens according to their microRNA expression pattern indicating cancer-specific alterations of microRNA expression in human male breast cancer. miR-21, miR519d, miR-183, miR-197, and miR-493-5p were identified as most prominently up-regulated, miR-145 and miR-497 as most prominently down-regulated in male breast cancer.
Male breast cancer displays several differentially expressed microRNAs. Not all of them are shared with breast cancer biopsies from female patients indicating male breast cancer specific alterations of microRNA expression.
We report that the expression pattern of inflammatory-related genes in tumors and paired noncancerous tissues was an independent prognostic marker for colon adenocarcinoma patients. This gene signature was associated with prognosis in early stage patients. Therefore, this gene signature may be useful to identify high risk, early stage patients to assist in decisions regarding appropriate therapeutic intervention. We also show that combining independent biomarkers can improve predictions over single biomarkers. The combination of the inflammatory gene signature with available microRNA-21 expression data improved predictions with prognosis over either alone. These findings demonstrate the potential of IRS and/or microRNA-21 to be used as prognostic biomarkers for early stage colon cancer.
Inflammatory genes and microRNAs have roles in colon carcinogenesis; therefore, they may provide useful biomarkers for colon cancer. This study examines the potential clinical utility of an inflammatory gene expression signature as a prognostic biomarker for colon cancer in addition to previously examined microRNA-21 expression.
Quantitative RTPCR measured the expression 23 inflammatory genes in colon adenocarcinomas and adjacent noncancerous tissues from 196 patients. These data were used to develop models for cancer-specific mortality on a training cohort (n=57) and this model was tested in both a test (n=56) and validation (n=83) cohort. Expression data for microRNA-21 was available for these patients and was compared to and combined with inflammatory gene expression.
PRG1, IL-10, CD68, IL-23a, and IL-12a expression in noncancerous tissue and PRG1, ANXA1, IL-23a, IL-17a, FOXP3 and HLA-DRA expression in tumor tissues were associated with poor prognosis based on Cox regression (|Z-score| > 1.5) and were used to generate the inflammatory risk score (IRS). IRS was associated with cancer-specific mortality in the training, test (P=0.01) and validation (P=0.02) cohorts. This association was strong for stage II cases (P=0.002). microRNA-21 expression was associated with IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12a and NOS2a, providing evidence that the function of this microRNA and these inflammatory genes are linked. Both IRS and microRNA-21 expression were independently associated with cancer-specific mortality, including stage II patients alone.
IRS and microRNA-21 expression are independent predictors of colon cancer prognosis and may provide a clinically useful tool to identify high risk patients.
MicroRNAs have emerged as important regulators of cell proliferation, development, cancer formation, stress responses, cell death, and other physiological conditions in the past decade. On the other hand, head and neck cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers worldwide. Recent advances in microRNAs have revealed their prominent role in regulating gene expression and provided new aspects of applications in diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic strategies in head and neck squamous carcinoma. In the present paper, we focus on microRNAs showing significant differences between normal and tumor cells or between cells with differential ability of metastasis. We also emphasize specific microRNAs that could modulate tumor cell properties, such as apoptosis, metastasis, and proliferation. These microRNAs possess the potential to be applied on clinical therapy in the future.
MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that function to control gene expression. These small RNAs have been shown to contribute to the control of cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis, important features related to cancer development and progression. In fact, recent studies have shown the utility of microRNAs as cancer-related biomarkers. This is due to the finding that microRNAs display altered expression profiles in cancers versus normal tissue. In addition, microRNAs have been associated with cancer progression. In this review, the mechanisms to alter microRNA expression and their relation to cancer will be addressed. Moreover, the potential application of microRNAs in clinical settings will also be highlighted. Finally, the challenges regarding the translation of research involving microRNAs to the clinical realm will be discussed.
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.
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.
microRNA expression signatures can differentiate normal and breast cancer tissues and can define specific clinico-pathological phenotypes in breast tumors. In order to further evaluate the microRNA expression profile in breast cancer, we analyzed the expression of 667 microRNAs in 29 tumors and 21 adjacent normal tissues using TaqMan Low-density arrays. 130 miRNAs showed significant differential expression (adjusted P value = 0.05, Fold Change = 2) in breast tumors compared to the normal adjacent tissue. Importantly, the role of 43 of these microRNAs has not been previously reported in breast cancer, including several evolutionary conserved microRNA*, showing similar expression rates to that of their corresponding leading strand. The expression of 14 microRNAs was replicated in an independent set of 55 tumors. Bioinformatic analysis of mRNA targets of the altered miRNAs, identified oncogenes like ERBB2, YY1, several MAP kinases, and known tumor-suppressors like FOXA1 and SMAD4. Pathway analysis identified that some biological process which are important in breast carcinogenesis are affected by the altered microRNA expression, including signaling through MAP kinases and TP53 pathways, as well as biological processes like cell death and communication, focal adhesion and ERBB2-ERBB3 signaling. Our data identified the altered expression of several microRNAs whose aberrant expression might have an important impact on cancer-related cellular pathways and whose role in breast cancer has not been previously described.
Increasing evidence has suggested that microRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in tumorigenesis. As transcriptional regulators, altered miRNA expression may affect many cancer-related biological pathways, indicating that miRNAs can function as tumor suppressors and/or oncogenes. We first performed a genetic association analysis by screening genetic variants in 15 microRNA genes and detected that a common sequence variant in hsa-miR-196a-2 (rs11614913, C→T) was significantly associated with decreased breast cancer risk (for homozygous variant: OR=0.44, 95% CI, 0.28-0.70). Hypermethylation of a CpG island upstream (-700 bp) of the miR-196a-2 precursor was also associated with reduced breast cancer risk (OR=0.35, 95% CI, 0.15-0.81). By delivering expression vectors containing either wild-type or mutant precursors of miR-196a-2 into breast cancer cells, we demonstrated that this variant led to less efficient processing of the miRNA precursor to its mature form, as well as diminished capacity to regulate target genes. A whole genome expression microarray was preformed and a pathway-based analysis identified a cancer-relevant network formed by genes significantly altered following enforced expression of miR-196a-2. Mutagenesis analysis further showed that cell cycle response to mutagen challenge was significantly enhanced in cells treated with variant miR-196a-2 compared to cells treated with the wild-type. Taken together, our findings suggest that miR-196a-2 might have a potentially oncogenic role in breast tumorigenesis, and the function genetic variant in its mature region could serve as a novel biomarker for breast cancer susceptibility.
miR-196a-2; Methylation; Network Analysis; Breast Cancer
Pancreatic cancer has the poorest prognosis among all human malignant solid tumors, mainly due to its high invasive and metastatic biological features. microRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of endogenous and small non-coding RNA molecules 18–25 nucleotides in length, functioning as either tumor-suppressor genes or oncogenes. Evidence has shown that regulation of miRNAs in pancreatic cancer is associated with tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and resistance to therapy. Over the last decade, many studies have also found that there is a close relationship between miRNAs and biological characteristics of pancreatic cancer invasion and metastasis, such as the presence of cancer stem cells, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, DNA methylation or epigenetic alteration, and the activation of some specific signaling pathways. Therefore, better understanding of the complex role of miRNAs in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer metastasis may provide new insights that could be of therapeutic consequence. In this brief review, we discuss the literature concerning the correlation between miRNAs and pancreatic cancer, focusing on miRNAs that contribute to pancreatic cancer invasion and metastasis, particularly on cancer stem cell characteristics, the EMT process, epigenetic modifications and tumor-associated signaling pathways.
microRNAs; metastasis; pancreatic cancer