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Biomark Insights. 2006;2:113-121.

Prognostic Values of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer.

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  • 1The Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688.


The functions of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumorigenesis are just beginning to emerge. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified a number of miRNAs that were deregulated in colon cancer cell lines due to the deletion of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In this study, the in vivo significance of some of these miRNAs was further evaluated using colorectal clinical samples. Ten miRNAs (hsa-let-7b, hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-miR-191, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-30a-5p and hsa-miR-30c) were evaluated for their potential prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients. Forty eight snap frozen clinical colorectal samples (24 colorectal cancer and 24 paired normal patient samples) with detailed clinical follow-up information were selected. The expression levels of 10 miRNAs were quantified via qRT-PCR analysis. The statistical significance of these markers for disease prognosis was evaluated using a two tailed paired Wilcoxon test. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was generated followed by performing a Logrank test. Among the ten miRNAs, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0278), hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0002), hsa-miR-191 (p = 0.0264) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0017) were significantly over-expressed in tumors compared to normal colorectal samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that hsa-miR-200c was significantly associated with patient survival (p = 0.0122). The patients (n = 15) with higher hsa-miR-200c expression had a shorter survival time (median survival = 26 months) compared to patients (n = 9) with lower expression (median survival = 38 months). Sequencing analysis revealed that hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0098) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0322) expression were strongly associated with the mutation status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Some of these miRNAs may function as oncogenes due to their over-expression in tumors. hsa-miR-200c may be a potential novel prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.

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