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.
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.
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.
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
MicroRNAs are well-suited to regulate tumor metastasis due to their capacity to coordinately repress numerous target genes, thereby potentially enabling their intervention at multiple steps of the invasion-metastasis cascade. We identify a microRNA exemplifying these attributes, miR-31, whose expression correlates inversely with metastasis in human breast cancer patients. Overexpression of miR-31 in otherwise-aggressive breast tumor cells suppresses metastasis. We deploy a stable microRNA sponge strategy to stably inhibit miR-31 in vivo; this allows otherwise-non-aggressive breast cancer cells to metastasize. These phenotypes do not involve confounding influences on primary tumor development and are specifically attributable to miR-31-mediated inhibition of several steps of metastasis, including local invasion, extravasation or initial survival at a distant site, and metastatic colonization. Such pleiotropy is achieved via coordinate repression of a cohort of metastasis-promoting genes, including RhoA. Indeed, RhoA re-expression partially reverses miR-31-imposed metastasis-suppression. These findings indicate that miR-31 uses multiple mechanisms to oppose metastasis.
Due to the large number of putative microRNA gene targets predicted by sequence-alignment databases and the relative low accuracy of such predictions which are conducted independently of biological context by design, systematic experimental identification and validation of every functional microRNA target is currently challenging. Consequently, biological studies have yet to identify, on a genome scale, key regulatory networks perturbed by altered microRNA functions in the context of cancer. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time how phenotypic knowledge of inheritable cancer traits and of risk factor loci can be utilized jointly with gene expression analysis to efficiently prioritize deregulated microRNAs for biological characterization. Using this approach we characterize miR-204 as a tumor suppressor microRNA and uncover previously unknown connections between microRNA regulation, network topology, and expression dynamics. Specifically, we validate 18 gene targets of miR-204 that show elevated mRNA expression and are enriched in biological processes associated with tumor progression in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). We further demonstrate the enrichment of bottleneckness, a key molecular network topology, among miR-204 gene targets. Restoration of miR-204 function in HNSCC cell lines inhibits the expression of its functionally related gene targets, leads to the reduced adhesion, migration and invasion in vitro and attenuates experimental lung metastasis in vivo. As importantly, our investigation also provides experimental evidence linking the function of microRNAs that are located in the cancer-associated genomic regions (CAGRs) to the observed predisposition to human cancers. Specifically, we show miR-204 may serve as a tumor suppressor gene at the 9q21.1–22.3 CAGR locus, a well established risk factor locus in head and neck cancers for which tumor suppressor genes have not been identified. This new strategy that integrates expression profiling, genetics and novel computational biology approaches provides for improved efficiency in characterization and modeling of microRNA functions in cancer as compared to the state of art and is applicable to the investigation of microRNA functions in other biological processes and diseases.
MicroRNAs regulate the expression of genes in cells and are important in cancer development and progression. Designing new microRNA-based treatments requires the understanding of their mechanisms of action. Previous biological studies lack in depth since only a few genes are confirmed as microRNA targets. Additionally, key biological systems perturbed by altered microRNA functions in the context of cancer remain to be identified. Here, we demonstrate for the first time how genetic knowledge about the inheritance of cancer can be utilized jointly with data about the expression of genes in cancer samples to model deregulated microRNAs and their functions at multiple scales of biology. Our approach further uncovers previously unknown connections between microRNAs, their regulated genes, and their dynamics. Using head and neck cancer as a model, we predict the presence, functions, and gene targets of a new tumor suppressor microRNA in a cancer-associated chromosomal region where a candidate gene has not been identified. We then confirm their validity with extensive and thorough biological characterization and show attenuation of lung metastasis in mice. The discovery of molecular networks regulated by microRNAs could be exploited for the design of new treatments as an alternative to the single-gene target paradigm.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators that play a key role in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is involved in invasion and metastasis in many tumors. In this study, we investigated the microRNAs (miRNA) profiles altered by TGF-β1 in gastric cancer (GC) cells.
We detected the expression profiles of miRNA by miRNA microarray and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Migration and invasion, wound-healing assay, prediction of miRNA targets, Western blot and qRT-PCR analysis were carried out to determine the role of one selected miRNA, namely miR-193b, in affecting the biological behaviors of GC BGC823 cells.
Among 847 human miRNAs in the microarray, three miRNAs (miR-27a, miR-29b-1 and miR-194) were up-regulated and three (miR-574-3p, miR-193b and miR-130b) were down-regulated in BGC823 cells treated with TGF-β1 compared with control. miR-193b suppressed the invasion and metastasis of GC cells in vivo and in vitro, and down-regulated urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) protein in GC cells.
TGF-β1 altered miRNA expression profile in BGC823 cells. Among the altered miRNAs, TGF-β1 induced the down-regulation of miR-193b, which inhibited cell invasion and metastasis in vivo and in vitro, and down-regulated uPA protein in GC cells.
TGF-β1 (transforming growth factor-β1); gastric cancer (GC); miRNA (microRNAs); expression
Gene expression control mediated by microRNAs and epigenetic remodeling of chromatin are interconnected processes often involved in feedback regulatory loops, which strictly guide proper tissue differentiation during embryonal development. Altered expression of microRNAs is one of the mechanisms leading to pathologic conditions, such as cancer. Several lines of evidence pointed to epigenetic alterations as responsible for aberrant microRNA expression in human cancers. Rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma are pediatric cancers derived from cells presenting features of skeletal muscle and neuronal precursors, respectively, blocked at different stages of differentiation. Consistently, tumor cells express tissue markers of origin but are unable to terminally differentiate. Several microRNAs playing a key role during tissue differentiation are often epigenetically downregulated in rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma and behave as tumor suppressors when re-expressed. Recently, inhibition of epigenetic modulators in adult tumors has provided encouraging results causing re-expression of anti-tumor master gene pathways. Thus, a similar approach could be used to correct the aberrant epigenetic regulation of microRNAs in rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma. The present review highlights the current insights on epigenetically deregulated microRNAs in rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma and their role in tumorigenesis and developmental pathways. The translational clinical implications and challenges regarding modulation of epigenetic chromatin remodeling/microRNAs interconnections are also discussed.
microRNA; rhabdomyosarcoma; neuroblastoma; epigenetics; differentiation; Polycomb proteins; DNA methylation; histones
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in carcinogenesis through the regulation of their target genes. miRNA-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (miR-SNPs) can affect miRNA biogenesis and target sites and can alter microRNA expression and functions. We examined 11 miR-SNPs, including 5 in microRNA genes, 3 in microRNA binding sites and 3 in microRNA-processing machinery components, and evaluated time to recurrence (TTR) according to miR-SNP genotypes in 175 surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Significant differences in TTR were found according to KRT81 rs3660 (median TTR: 20.3 months for the CC genotype versus 86.8 months for the CG or GG genotype; P = 0.003) and XPO5 rs11077 (median TTR: 24.7 months for the AA genotype versus 73.1 months for the AC or CC genotypes; P = 0.029). Moreover, when patients were divided according to stage, these differences were maintained for stage I patients (P = 0.002 for KRT81 rs3660; P<0.001 for XPO5 rs11077). When patients were divided into sub-groups according to histology, the effect of the KRT81 rs3660 genotype on TTR was significant in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (P = 0.004) but not in those with adenocarcinoma. In the multivariate analyses, the KRT81 rs3660 CC genotype (OR = 1.8; P = 0.023) and the XPO5 rs11077 AA genotype (OR = 1.77; P = 0.026) emerged as independent variables influencing TTR. Immunohistochemical analyses in 80 lung specimens showed that 95% of squamous cell carcinomas were positive for KRT81, compared to only 19% of adenocarcinomas (P<0.0001). In conclusion, miR-SNPs are a novel class of SNPs that can add useful prognostic information on the clinical outcome of resected NSCLC patients and may be a potential key tool for selecting high-risk stage I patients. Moreover, KRT81 has emerged as a promising immunohistochemical marker for the identification of squamous cell lung carcinoma.