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Br J Cancer. 2012 May 22;106(11):1826-32. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.175. Epub 2012 May 1.

Down-regulation of KRAS-interacting miRNA-143 predicts poor prognosis but not response to EGFR-targeted agents in colorectal cancer.

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Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz (MUG), Auenbruggerplatz 15, Graz, Austria.



MicroRNA-143 (miRNA-143) is frequently down-regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) and may influence CRC cell proliferation, apoptosis and sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil. mRNA encoded by the KRAS oncogene has been identified as a target of miRNA-143. However, the prognostic significance of miRNA-143 expression and the ability to predict patient response to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted agents have not yet been explored.


We examined 77 CRC patients who were identified by pyrosequencing to have wild-type KRAS and were subsequently treated with EGFR-targeted therapy with the monoclonal antibodies cetuximab or panitumumab. MicroRNA-143 expression was measured in CRC tissue and corresponding non-neoplastic colon tissue by RT-PCR and its expression level was correlated with clinico-pathological characteristics. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to calculate cancer-specific survival (CSS). The progression-free survival (PFS) and objective response rates on EGFR-targeted therapy were also evaluated.


Down-regulation of miRNA-143 was observed in 47 out of 77 (61%) tumours. Multivariate Cox regression analysis identified low levels of miRNA-143 expression as an independent prognostic factor with respect to CSS (hazard ratio=1.92, confidence interval=1.1-3.4, P=0.024). A significant difference was also observed with regard to PFS on EGFR-targeted therapy (P=0.031), but there were no significant differences with regard to the objective response rates.


Our data indicate that miRNA-143 expression levels serve as an independent prognostic biomarker for CRC in KRAS wild-type patients. No role for miRNA-143 expression as a predictive biomarker for EGFR-targeted agents could be identified. Given its negative impact on CSS and PFS, miRNA-143 represents a novel prognosticator and a promising drug target for patients with CRC.

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