Colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability display unique miRNA profiles

Francesc Balaguer, Leticia Moreira, Juan Jose Lozano, Alexander Link, Georgina Ramirez, Yan Shen, Miriam Cuatrecasas, Mildred Arnold, Stephen J. Meltzer, Sapna Syngal, Elena Stoffel, Rodrigo Jover, Xavier Llor, Antoni Castells, C. Richard Boland, Meritxell Gironella, Ajay Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Purpose: microRNAs (miRNA) are small noncoding transcripts that play an important role in carcinogenesis. miRNA expression profiles have been shown to discriminate between different types of cancers. The aim of this study was to analyze global miRNA signatures in various groups of colorectal cancers (CRC) based on the presence of microsatellite instability (MSI). Experimental Design: We analyzed genome-wide miRNA expression profiles in 54 CRC tissues [22 with Lynch syndrome, 13 with sporadic MSI due to MLH1 methylation, 19 without MSI (or microsatellite stable, MSS)] and 20 normal colonic tissues by miRNA microarrays. Using an independent set of MSI-positive samples (13 with Lynch syndrome and 20 with sporadic MSI), we developed a miRNA-based predictor to differentiate both types of MSI by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. Results: We found that the expression of a subset of nine miRNAs significantly discriminated between tumor and normal colonic mucosa tissues (overall error rate = 0.04). More importantly, Lynch syndrome tumors displayed a unique miRNA profile compared with sporadic MSI tumors; miR-622, miR-1238, and miR-192 were the most differentially expressed miRNAs between these two groups. We developed a miRNA-based predictor capable of differentiating between types of MSI in an independent sample set. Conclusions: CRC tissues show distinct miRNA expression profiles compared with normal colonic mucosa. The discovery of unique miRNA expression profiles that can successfully discriminate between Lynch syndrome, sporadic MSI, and sporadic MSS colorectal cancers provides novel insights into the role of miRNAs in colorectal carcinogenesis, which may contribute to the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6239-6249
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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