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J Genomics. 2017 Sep 8;5:99-118. doi: 10.7150/jgen.22060. eCollection 2017.

Small Non-coding RNA Abundance in Adrenocortical Carcinoma: A Footprint of a Rare Cancer.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


BACKGROUND: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a relatively rare, but aggressive type of cancer, which affects both children and adults. OBJECTIVE: Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) play important roles and may serve as biomarkers for disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. METHODS: In our study, we sought to identify sncRNAs associated with malignant adrenal tumors. We obtained publicly available, small RNA sequencing data derived from 45 ACC and 30 benign tumors arising from the cortex of the adrenal gland, adrenocortical adenomas (ACA), and compared their sncRNA expression profiles. RESULTS: First, we remapped small RNA-seq to miRBase version 21 to check expression of miRNAs and found 147 miRNAs were aberrantly expressed (p<0.05) in ACC samples compared to ACA samples. Pathway analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs revealed p53 signaling pathways to be profoundly affected in ACC samples. Further examination for other types of small RNAs revealed 16 piRNAs, 48 lncRNAs and 19 sn/snoRNAs identified in ACC samples. Conclusions: Our data analysis suggests that publically available resources can be mined for biomarker development and improvements in-patient care; however, further research must be performed to correlate tumor grade with gene expression.


ACC; Adrenocortical; data mining; genomics; miRNA; piRNA; sncRNA; snoRNA.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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