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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51606. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051606. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

The association between genetic polymorphism and the processing efficiency of miR-149 affects the prognosis of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Dentistry, National Yang-Ming University Hospital, I-Lan, Taiwan.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in modulating the neoplastic process of cancers including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). A genetic polymorphism (rs2292832, C>T) has been recently identified in the precursor of miR-149; nevertheless its clinicopathological implications remain obscure. In this study, we showed that miR-149 is down-regulated in HNSCC compared to normal mucosa and this is associated with a poorer patient survival. In addition, HNSCC patients with the T/T genotype have more advanced tumors and a worse prognosis. Multivariate analysis indicated that patients carried the T/T genotype have a 2.81-fold (95% CI: 1.58-4.97) increased risk of nodal metastasis and 1.66-fold (95% CI: 1.05-2.60) increased risk of mortality compared to other groups. T/T genotype also predicted the worse prognosis of buccal mucosa carcinoma subset of HNSCC. In vitro analysis indicated that exogenous miR-149 expression reduces the migration of HNSCC cells. Moreover, HNSCC cell subclones carrying the pri-mir-149 sequence containing the T variant show a low processing efficacy when converting the pre-mir-149 to mature miR-149. These findings suggest that miR-149 suppresses tumor cell mobility, and that the pre-mir-149 polymorphism may affect the processing of miR-149, resulting in a change in the abundance of the mature form miRNA, which, in turn, modulates tumor progression and patient survival.

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