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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39777. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039777. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Impacts of microRNA gene polymorphisms on the susceptibility of environmental factors leading to carcinogenesis in oral cancer.

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  • 1Institute of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.



MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been regarded as a critical factor in targeting oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes in tumorigenesis. The genetic predisposition of miRNAs-signaling pathways related to the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains unresolved. This study examined the associations of polymorphisms with four miRNAs with the susceptibility and clinicopathological characteristics of OSCC.


A total of 895 male subjects, including 425 controls and 470 male oral cancer patients, were selected. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and real-time PCR were used to analyze miRNA146a, miRNA196, miRNA499 and miRNA149 genetic polymorphisms between the control group and the case group. This study determined that a significant association of miRNA499 with CC genotype, as compared to the subjects with TT genotype, had a higher risk (AOR = 4.52, 95% CI = 1.24-16.48) of OSCC. Moreover, an impact of those four miRNAs gene polymorphism on the susceptibility of betel nut and tobacco consumption leading to oral cancer was also revealed. We found a protective effect between clinical stage development (AOR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.36-0.94) and the tumor size growth (AOR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.28-0.79) in younger patients (age<60).


Our results suggest that genetic polymorphism of miRNA499 is associated with oral carcinogenesis, and the interaction of the miRNAs genetic polymorphism and environmental carcinogens is also related to an increased risk of oral cancer in Taiwanese.

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