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Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Jul 15;19(14):3955-65. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-3302. Epub 2013 May 29.

The prognostic value of microRNAs varies with patient race/ethnicity and stage of colorectal cancer.

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Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.



MicroRNAs (miRNA) have potential prognostic value for colorectal cancers; however, their value based on patient race/ethnicity and pathologic stage has not been determined. The goal was to ascertain the prognostic value of 5 miRNAs with increased expression in colorectal cancers of African American (black) and non-Hispanic Caucasian (white) patients.


TaqMan quantitative real-time PCR was used to quantify expression of miR-20a, miR-21, miR-106a, miR-181b, and miR-203 in paired normal and tumor colorectal cancer archival tissues collected from 106 black and 239 white patients. The results were correlated with overall survival based on patient race/ethnicity and pathologic stage. Because decisions about adjuvant therapy are important for stage III colorectal cancers, and because miR-181b seemed to have prognostic value only for stage III black patients, we assessed its prognostic value in a separate cohort of 36 stage III colorectal cancers of blacks.


All 5 miRNAs had higher expression in colorectal cancers (>1.0-fold) than in corresponding normal tissues. High expression of miR-203 was associated with poor survival of whites with stage IV colorectal cancers (HR = 3.00; 95% CI, 1.29-7.53), but in blacks it was an indicator of poor survival of patients with stages I and II colorectal cancers (HR = 5.63; 95% CI, 1.03-30.64). Increased miR-21 expression correlated with poor prognosis for white stage IV patients (HR = 2.50; 95% CI, 1.07-5.83). In both test and validation cohorts, high miR-181b expression correlated with poor survival of only black patients with stage III colorectal cancers (HR = 1.94; 95% CI, 1.03-3.67).


These preliminary findings suggest that the prognostic value of miRNAs in colorectal cancers varies with patient race/ethnicity and stage of disease.

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