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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29671. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029671. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

MicroRNA signatures in tumor tissue related to angiogenesis in non-small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Oncology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsφ, Norway.



Angiogenesis is regarded as a hallmark in cancer development, and anti-angiogenic treatment is presently used in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding, endogenous, single stranded RNAs that regulate gene expression. In this study we aimed to identify significantly altered miRs related to angiogenesis in NSCLC.


From a large cohort of 335 NSCLC patients, paraffin-embedded samples from 10 patients with a short disease specific survival (DSS), 10 with a long DSS and 10 normal controls were analyzed. The miRs were quantified by microarray hybridization and selected miRs were validated by real-time qPCR. The impacts of different pathways, including angiogenesis, were evaluated by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) derived from Protein ANalysis THrough Evolutionary Relationship (PANTHER). One of the most interesting candidate markers, miR-155, was validated by in situ hybridization (ISH) in the total cohort (n = 335) and correlation analyses with several well-known angiogenic markers were done.


128 miRs were significantly up- or down-regulated; normal versus long DSS (n = 68) and/or normal versus short DSS (n = 63) and/or long versus short DSS (n = 37). The pathway analysis indicates angiogenesis-related miRs to be involved in NSCLC. There were strong significant correlations between the array hybridization and qPCR validation data. The significantly altered angiogenesis-related miRs of high interest were miR-21, miR-106a, miR-126, miR-155, miR-182, miR-210 and miR-424. miR-155 correlated significantly with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in the total cohort (r = 0.17, P = 0.002), though most prominent in the subgroup with nodal metastasis (r = 0.34, P<0.001).


Several angiogenesis-related miRs are significantly altered in NSCLC. Further studies to understand their biological functions and explore their clinical relevance are warranted.

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