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Int J Cancer. 2010 Jun 1;126(11):2553-62. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24960.

MicroRNA-15b represents an independent prognostic parameter and is correlated with tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis in malignant melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Skin Cancer Center Hannover, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs ( approximately 22 bp) that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression. MiRNAs possess oncogenic or tumor suppressor activity in various tumors but little is known about miRNA expression pattern in malignant melanoma. We determined the expression level of 16 potentially relevant miRNAs (miR-15a, miR-15b, miR-16, miR-34a, miR-210, let-7I, miR-23a, miR-23b, miR-24, miR-27a, miR-27b, miR-100, miR-137, miR-222, miR-373-1, miR-373*) by real-time PCR in 6 preparations of normal melanocytes vs. 10 melanoma cell lines and in formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue of 11 melanocytic nevi versus 16 melanomas. MiR-15b and miR-210 were significantly upregulated, miR-34a was significantly downregulated in melanomas compared with melanocytic nevi. These 3 miRNAs were analyzed in a total of 128 primary melanomas from patients with detailed clinical follow-up information. High expression of miR-15b (but not miR-210 upregulation and miR-34a downregulation) was significantly associated with poor recurrence free survival and overall survival by univariate Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox analyses. Downregulation of miR-15b in two melanoma cell lines with high miR-15b expression by transfection with anti-miR-15b siRNA was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation, whereas apoptosis was increased. In summary, miRNA expression levels show distinct differences comparing benign and malignant melanocytic cell proliferations and can provide independent prognostic informations. MiR-15b appears to represent a particular important miRNA in melanoma that is associated with poor prognosis and tumorigenesis.

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