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1.  The Role of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer 
Cancer Journal (Sudbury, Mass.)  2012;18(3):244-252.
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.
PMCID: PMC3397427  PMID: 22647361
2.  A Key Role of microRNA-29b for the Suppression of Colon Cancer Cell Migration by American Ginseng 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75034.
Metastasis of colon cancer cells increases the risk of colon cancer mortality. We have recently shown that American ginseng prevents colon cancer, and a Hexane extract of American Ginseng (HAG) has particularly potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Dysregulated microRNA (miR) expression has been observed in several disease conditions including colon cancer. Using global miR expression profiling, we observed increased miR-29b in colon cancer cells following exposure to HAG. Since miR-29b plays a role in regulating the migration of cancer cells, we hypothesized that HAG induces miR-29b expression to target matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) thereby suppressing the migration of colon cancer cells. Results are consistent with this hypothesis. Our study supports the understanding that targeting MMP-2 by miR-29b is a mechanism by which HAG suppresses the migration of colon cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3794036  PMID: 24130681
3.  Circulating microRNA Expression Profiles in Early Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Circulating micro-RNA (miR) profiles have been proposed as promising diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for cancer, including lung cancer. We have developed methods to accurately and reproducibly measure microRNA levels in serum and plasma. Here we study paired serum and plasma samples from 220 patients with early stage NSCLC and 220 matched controls. We use qRT-PCR to measure the circulating levels of 30 different miRs that have previously been reported to be differently expressed in lung cancer tissue. Duplicate RNA extractions were performed for 10% of all samples and microRNA measurements were highly correlated among those duplicates. This demonstrates high reproducibility of our assay. The expression of miR-146b, miR-221, let-7a, miR-155, miR-17-5p, miR-27a and miR-106a were significantly reduced in the serum of NSCLC cases while miR-29c was significantly increased. No significant differences were observed in plasma of patients compared to controls. Overall, expression levels in serum did not correlate well with levels in plasma. In secondary analyses, reduced plasma expression of let-7b was modestly associated with worse cancer-specific mortality in all patients and reduced serum expression of miR-223 was modestly associated with cancer-specific mortality in stage IA/B patients. MiR profiles also showed considerable differences comparing African American and European Americans. In summary, we found significant differences in miR expression when comparing cases and controls and find evidence that expression of let-7b is associated with prognosis in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3259258  PMID: 21544802
4.  Transcription signatures encoded by ultraconserved genomic regions in human prostate cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:13.
Ultraconserved regions (UCR) are genomic segments of more than 200 base pairs that are evolutionarily conserved among mammalian species. They are thought to have functions as transcriptional enhancers and regulators of alternative splicing. Recently, it was shown that numerous RNAs are transcribed from these regions. These UCR-encoded transcripts (ucRNAs) were found to be expressed in a tissue- and disease-specific manner and may interfere with the function of other RNAs through RNA: RNA interactions. We hypothesized that ucRNAs have unidentified roles in the pathogenesis of human prostate cancer. In a pilot study, we examined ucRNA expression profiles in human prostate tumors.
Using a custom microarray with 962 probesets representing sense and antisense sequences for the 481 human UCRs, we examined ucRNA expression in resected, fresh-frozen human prostate tissues (57 tumors, 7 non-cancerous prostate tissues) and in cultured prostate cancer cells treated with either epigenetic drugs (the hypomethylating agent, 5-Aza 2′deoxycytidine, and the histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A) or a synthetic androgen, R1881. Expression of selected ucRNAs was also assessed by qRT-PCR and NanoString®-based assays. Because ucRNAs may function as RNAs that target protein-coding genes through direct and inhibitory RNA: RNA interactions, computational analyses were applied to identify candidate ucRNA:mRNA binding pairs.
We observed altered ucRNA expression in prostate cancer (e.g., uc.106+, uc.477+, uc.363 + A, uc.454 + A) and found that these ucRNAs were associated with cancer development, Gleason score, and extraprostatic extension after controlling for false discovery (false discovery rate < 5% for many of the transcripts). We also identified several ucRNAs that were responsive to treatment with either epigenetic drugs or androgen (R1881). For example, experiments with LNCaP human prostate cancer cells showed that uc.287+ is induced by R1881 (P < 0.05) whereas uc.283 + A was up-regulated following treatment with combined 5-Aza 2′deoxycytidine and trichostatin A (P < 0.05). Additional computational analyses predicted RNA loop-loop interactions of 302 different sense and antisense ucRNAs with 1058 different mRNAs, inferring possible functions of ucRNAs via direct interactions with mRNAs.
This first study of ucRNA expression in human prostate cancer indicates an altered transcript expression in the disease.
PMCID: PMC3626580  PMID: 23409773
Ultraconserved region; Gene expression; Prostate cancer
5.  Alterations of microRNAs contribute to colon carcinogenesis 
Seminars in oncology  2011;38(6):734-742.
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.
PMCID: PMC3217180  PMID: 22082759
6.  The association of microRNA expression with prognosis and progression in early stage, non small cell lung adenocarcinoma: a retrospective analysis of three cohorts 
There is increasing evidence that altered microRNA expression is associated with tumor progression and survival in cancer patients. We tested if the expression of specific microRNAs was associated with prognosis and disease progression in early stage lung adenocarcinoma.
Experimental Design
The expression of miR-21, miR-17 and miR-155 was measured by quantitative RT-PCR in tissues from 317 non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients that originated from Maryland, Norway and Japan. Kaplan Meier and Cox regression analysis evaluated associations of microRNA expression with cancer-specific mortality and disease free survival.
Elevated miR-21 (hazard ratio [HR] 2.06, 1.13–3.75), miR-17 (HR 2.00, 1.10–3.61), miR-155 (HR 2.37, 1.27–4.42) was associated with worse cancer-specific mortality in the Maryland cohort. These were evaluated in two additional cohorts and only miR-21 was associated with worse cancer-specific mortality in the Norwegian cohort (HR 2.78, 1.22–6.31) and worse relapse free survival in the Japanese cohort (HR 2.82, 1.57–5.07). More advanced stage tumors expressed significantly higher levels of miR-21 compared to TNM stage I tumors. TNM stage I patients were evaluated separately and high levels of miR-21 was associated with worse cancer-specific mortality (HR 2.16, 1.11–4.21) and relapse-free survival (3.40, 1.57–7.36) independent of other clinical factors.
Conclusions and Summary
This is the first study to report that increased miR-21 expression is associated with disease progression and survival in stage I lung cancer. This suggests that expression of miR-21 may contribute to lung carcinogenesis and serve as a therapeutic target or early stage prognostic biomarker for lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3477786  PMID: 21350005
7.  Macrophages, Nitric Oxide and microRNAs Are Associated with DNA Damage Response Pathway and Senescence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44156.
Cellular senescence can be a functional barrier to carcinogenesis. We hypothesized that inflammation modulates carcinogenesis through senescence and DNA damage response (DDR). We examined the association between senescence and DDR with macrophage levels in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In vitro experiments tested the ability of macrophages to induce senescence in primary cells. Inflammation modulating microRNAs were identified in senescence colon tissue for further investigation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Quantitative immunohistochemistry identified protein expression by colon cell type. Increased cellular senescence (HP1γ; P = 0.01) or DDR (γH2A.X; P = 0.031, phospho-Chk2, P = 0.014) was associated with high macrophage infiltration in UC. Co-culture with macrophages (ANA-1) induced senescence in >80% of primary cells (fibroblasts MRC5, WI38), illustrating that macrophages induce senescence. Interestingly, macrophage-induced senescence was partly dependent on nitric oxide synthase, and clinically relevant NO• levels alone induced senescence. NO• induced DDR in vitro, as detected by immunofluorescence. In contrast to UC, we noted in Crohn’s disease (CD) that senescence (HP1γ; P<0.001) and DDR (γH2A.X; P<0.05, phospho-Chk2; P<0.001) were higher, and macrophages were not associated with senescence. We hypothesize that nitric oxide may modulate senescence in CD; epithelial cells of CD had higher levels of NOS2 expression than in UC (P = 0.001). Microarrays and quantitative-PCR identified miR-21 expression associated with macrophage infiltration and NOS2 expression.
Senescence was observed in IBD with senescence-associated β-galactosidase and HP1γ. Macrophages were associated with senescence and DDR in UC, and in vitro experiments with primary human cells showed that macrophages induce senescence, partly through NO•, and that NO• can induce DDR associated with senescence. Future experiments will investigate the role of NO• and miR-21 in senescence. This is the first study to implicate macrophages and nitrosative stress in a direct effect on senescence and DDR, which is relevant to many diseases of inflammation, cancer, and aging.
PMCID: PMC3435404  PMID: 22970173
8.  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
9.  Inflammatory and microRNA Gene Expression as Prognostic Classifiers of Barrett's Associated Esophageal Adenocarcinoma 
Esophageal cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer; highlighting the need to identify biomarkers for early detection and prognostic classification. Our recent studies have identified inflammatory gene and microRNA signatures derived from tumor and nontumor tissues as prognostic biomarkers of hepatocellular, lung, and colorectal adenocarcinoma. Here, we examine the relationship between expression of these inflammatory genes and miRNA expression in esophageal adenocarcinoma and patient survival.
Experimental Design
We measured the expression of 23 inflammation-associated genes in tumors and adjacent normal tissues from 93 patients (58 Barrett's and 35 Sporadic adenocarcinomas) by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. These data were used to build an inflammatory risk model, based on multivariate Cox regression, to predict survival in a training cohort (n=47). We then determined if this model could predict survival in a cohort of 46 patients. Expression data for miRNA-375 was available for these patients and was combined with inflammatory gene expression.
IFNγ, IL-1α, IL-8, IL-21, IL-23, and PRG expression in tumor and nontumor samples were each associated with poor prognosis based on Cox regression ([Z-score]>1.5) and therefore, were used to generate an inflammatory risk score (IRS). Patients with a high IRS had poor prognosis compared to those with a low IRS in the training (P=0.002) and test (P=0.012) cohorts. This association was stronger in the group with Barrett's history. When combining with miRNA-375, the combined IRS/miR signature was an improved prognostic classifier than either one alone.
Transcriptional profiling of inflammation-associated genes and miRNA expression in resected esophageal Barrett's associated adenocarcinoma tissues may have clinical utility as predictors of prognosis.
PMCID: PMC2999658  PMID: 20947516
Inflammation; Cancer; Barrett's; Esophagus
10.  Circulating Plasma MiR-141 Is a Novel Biomarker for Metastatic Colon Cancer and Predicts Poor Prognosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17745.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains one of the major cancer types and cancer related death worldwide. Sensitive, non-invasive biomarkers that can facilitate disease detection, staging and prediction of therapeutic outcome are highly desirable to improve survival rate and help to determine optimized treatment for CRC. The small non-coding RNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs), have recently been identified as critical regulators for various diseases including cancer and may represent a novel class of cancer biomarkers. The purpose of this study was to identify and validate circulating microRNAs in human plasma for use as such biomarkers in colon cancer.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we found that circulating miR-141 was significantly associated with stage IV colon cancer in a cohort of 102 plasma samples. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of candidate plasma microRNA markers. We observed that combination of miR-141 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a widely used marker for CRC, further improved the accuracy of detection. These findings were validated in an independent cohort of 156 plasma samples collected at Tianjin, China. Furthermore, our analysis showed that high levels of plasma miR-141 predicted poor survival in both cohorts and that miR-141 was an independent prognostic factor for advanced colon cancer.
We propose that plasma miR-141 may represent a novel biomarker that complements CEA in detecting colon cancer with distant metastasis and that high levels of miR-141 in plasma were associated with poor prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3060165  PMID: 21445232
11.  Inflammation and cancer: interweaving microRNA, free radical, cytokine and p53 pathways 
Carcinogenesis  2009;31(1):37-49.
Chronic inflammation and infection are major causes of cancer. There are continued improvements to our understanding of the molecular connections between inflammation and cancer. Key mediators of inflammation-induced cancer include nuclear factor kappa B, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins and specific microRNAs. The collective activity of these mediators is largely responsible for either a pro-tumorigenic or anti-tumorigenic inflammatory response through changes in cell proliferation, cell death, cellular senescence, DNA mutation rates, DNA methylation and angiogenesis. As our understanding grows, inflammatory mediators will provide opportunities to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. In this review, we provide a general overview of the connection between inflammation, microRNAs and cancer and highlight how our improved understanding of these connections may provide novel preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to reduce the health burden of cancer.
PMCID: PMC2802675  PMID: 19955394
12.  MiRNA expression in squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and associations with survival 
The dismal outcome of esophageal cancer patients highlights the need for novel prognostic biomarkers, such as microRNAs (miRNAs). While recent studies have established the role of miRNAs in esophageal carcinoma, a comprehensive multi-center study investigating different histological types, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarinoma (ADC) with or without Barrett's, is still lacking.
Experimental Design
MiRNA expression was measured in cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous tissue pairs collected from 100 ADC and 70 SCC patients enrolled at 4 clinical centers from the US, Canada, and Japan. Microarray-based expression was measured in a subset of samples in two cohorts and was validated in all available samples.
In ADC patients, miR-21, miR-223, miR-192, and miR-194 expression was elevated, while miR-203 expression was reduced in cancerous compared to non-cancerous tissue. In SCC patients, we found elevated miR-21 and reduced mir-375 expression levels in cancerous compared to non-cancerous tissue. When comparing cancerous tissue expression between ADC and SCC patients, mir-194 and mir-375 were elevated in ADC patients. Significantly, elevated mir-21 expression in non-cancerous tissue of SCC patients and reduced levels of mir-375 in cancerous tissue of ADC patients with Barrett's were strongly associated with worse prognosis. Associations with prognosis were independent of tumor stage or nodal status, cohort type, and chemoradiation therapy.
Our multi-center-based results highlight miRNAs involved in major histological types of esophageal carcinoma and uncover significant associations with prognosis. Elucidating miRNAs relevant to esophageal carcinogenesis is potentially clinically useful for developing prognostic biomarkers and identifying novel drug targets and therapies.
PMCID: PMC2933109  PMID: 19789312
microRNA; esophageal cancer; prognosis; Barrett's; expression profiling
13.  Association of inflammation-related and microRNA gene expression with cancer specific mortality of colon adenocarcinoma 
Translational Relevance
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.
Experimental Design
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.
PMCID: PMC2745503  PMID: 19737943
14.  p53 isoforms, Δ133p53 and p53β, are endogenous regulators of replicative cellular senescence 
Nature cell biology  2009;11(9):1135-1142.
The finite proliferative potential of normal human cells leads to replicative cellular senescence, which is a critical barrier to tumour progression in vivo1–3. We show that human p53 isoforms (Δ133p53 and p53β)4 constitute an endogenous regulatory mechanism for p53-mediated replicative senescence. Induced p53β and diminished Δ133p53 were associated with replicative senescence, but not oncogene-induced senescence, in normal human fibroblasts. The replicatively senescent fibroblasts also expressed increased levels of miR-34a, a p53-induced microRNA5–9, the antisense inhibition of which delayed the onset of replicative senescence. The siRNA-mediated knockdown of endogenous Δ133p53 induced cellular senescence, which was attributed to the regulation of p21WAF1 and other p53 transcriptional target genes. In overexpression experiments, while p53β cooperated with full-length p53 to accelerate cellular senescence, Δ133p53 repressed miR-34a expression and extended cellular replicative lifespan, providing a functional connection of this microRNA to the p53 isoform-mediated regulation of senescence. The senescence-associated signature of p53 isoform expression (i.e., elevated p53β and reduced Δ133p53) was observed in vivo in colon adenomas with senescent phenotypes10, 11. The increased Δ133p53 and decreased p53β isoform expression found in colon carcinoma may signal an escape from the senescence barrier during the progression from adenoma to carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2802853  PMID: 19701195
15.  MicroRNA Expression Profiles Associated With Prognosis and Therapeutic Outcome in Colon Adenocarcinoma 
MicroRNAs have potential as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in cancer. No study has evaluated the association between microRNA expression patterns and colon cancer prognosis or therapeutic outcome.
To identify microRNA expression patterns associated with colon adenocarcinomas, prognosis, or therapeutic outcome.
Design, Setting, and Patients
MicroRNA microarray expression profiling of tumors and paired nontumorous tissues was performed on a US test cohort of 84 patients with incident colon adenocarcinoma, recruited between 1993 and 2002. We evaluated associations with tumor status, TNM staging, survival prognosis, and response to adjuvant chemotherapy. Associations were validated in a second, independent Chinese cohort of 113 patients recruited between 1991 and 2000, using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays. The final date of follow-up was December 31, 2005, for the Maryland cohort and August 16, 2004, for the Hong Kong cohort.
Main Outcome Measures
MicroRNAs that were differentially expressed in tumors and microRNA expression patterns associated with survival using cancer-specific death as the end point.
Thirty-seven microRNAs were differentially expressed in tumors from the test cohort. Selected for validation were miR-20a, miR-21, miR-106a, miR-181b, and miR-203, and all 5 were enriched in tumors from the validation cohort (P<.001). Higher miR-21 expression was present in adenomas (P = .006) and in tumors with more advanced TNM staging (P<.001). In situ hybridization demonstrated miR-21 to be expressed at high levels in colonic carcinoma cells. The 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 57.5% for the Maryland cohort and was 49.5% for the Hong Kong cohort. High miR-21 expression was associated with poor survival in both the training (hazard ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-5.2) and validation cohorts (hazard ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.9), independent of clinical covariates, including TNM staging, and was associated with a poor therapeutic outcome.
Expression patterns of microRNAs are systematically altered in colon adenocarcinomas. High miR-21 expression is associated with poor survival and poor therapeutic outcome.
PMCID: PMC2614237  PMID: 18230780
16.  The Induction of microRNA-16 in Colon Cancer Cells by Protein Arginine Deiminase Inhibition Causes a p53-Dependent Cell Cycle Arrest 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53791.
Protein Arginine Deiminases (PADs) catalyze the post-translational conversion of peptidyl-Arginine to peptidyl-Citrulline in a calcium-dependent, irreversible reaction. Evidence is emerging that PADs play a role in carcinogenesis. To determine the cancer-associated functional implications of PADs, we designed a small molecule PAD inhibitor (called Chor-amidine or Cl-amidine), and tested the impact of this drug on the cell cycle. Data derived from experiments in colon cancer cells indicate that Cl-amidine causes a G1 arrest, and that this was p53-dependent. In a separate set of experiments, we found that Cl-amidine caused a significant increase in microRNA-16 (miRNA-16), and that this increase was also p53-dependent. Because miRNA-16 is a putative tumor suppressor miRNA, and others have found that miRNA-16 suppresses proliferation, we hypothesized that the p53-dependent G1 arrest associated with PAD inhibition was, in turn, dependent on miRNA-16 expression. Results are consistent with this hypothesis. As well, we found the G1 arrest is at least in part due to the ability of Cl-amidine-mediated expression of miRNA-16 to suppress its' G1-associated targets: cyclins D1, D2, D3, E1, and cdk6. Our study sheds light into the mechanisms by which PAD inhibition can protect against or treat colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3538596  PMID: 23308284

Results 1-16 (16)