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Blood. 2009 Jun 4;113(23):5938-41. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-09-179168. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Tumor suppressor microRNAs are underrepresented in primary effusion lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for AIDS Research at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7290, USA.


The presence of tumor-specific microRNAs reflects tissue of origin and tumor stage. We show that the absence of miRNAs likewise can be used to determine tumor origin (miR-155) and proliferation state because tumor suppressor miRNAs (miR-222/221, let-7 family) were significantly down-regulated in primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and in Kaposi sarcoma (KS), an endothelial cell tumor. PEL and KS are associated with KS-associated herpesvirus infection. We identified 15 virally regulated miRNAs in latently infected, nontumorigenic endothelial cells. MiR-143/145 were elevated only in KS tumors, not virally infected endothelial cells. Thus, they represent tumor-specific, rather than virus-specific, miRNAs. Because many tumor suppressor proteins are wild-type in KS and PEL, down-regulation of multiple tumor suppressor miRNAs provides a novel, alternative mechanism of transformation.

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