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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Oct 1;15(19):6192-200. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1467. Epub 2009 Sep 29.

MicroRNA expression in squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus: associations with survival.

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  • 1Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.



The dismal outcome of esophageal cancer patients highlights the need for novel prognostic biomarkers, such as microRNAs (miRNA). Although recent studies have established the role of miRNAs in esophageal carcinoma, a comprehensive multicenter study investigating different histologic types, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma with or without Barrett's, is still lacking.


miRNA expression was measured in cancerous and adjacent noncancerous tissue pairs collected from 100 adenocarcinoma and 70 SCC patients enrolled at four clinical centers from the United States, Canada, and Japan. Microarray-based expression was measured in a subset of samples in two cohorts and was validated in all available samples.


In adenocarcinoma patients, miR-21, miR-223, miR-192, and miR-194 expression was elevated, whereas miR-203 expression was reduced in cancerous compared with noncancerous tissue. In SCC patients, we found elevated miR-21 and reduced miR-375 expression levels in cancerous compared with noncancerous tissue. When comparing cancerous tissue expression between adenocarcinoma and SCC patients, miR-194 and miR-375 were elevated in adenocarcinoma patients. Significantly, elevated miR-21 expression in noncancerous tissue of SCC patients and reduced levels of miR-375 in cancerous tissue of adenocarcinoma 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 multicenter-based results highlight miRNAs involved in major histologic 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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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