Comprehensive MicroRNA profiling for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas

Angela B Y Hui, Michelle Lenarduzzi, Tiffaney Krushel, Levi Waldron, Melania Pintilie, Wei Shi, Bayardo Perez-Ordonez, Igor Jurisica, Brian O'Sullivan, John Waldron, Pat Gullane, Bernard Cummings, Fei-Fei Liu
Clinical Cancer Research 2010 February 15, 16 (4): 1129-39

PURPOSE: The objective of this study is to investigate the significance of microRNAs (miRNA) in patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A global miRNA profiling was done on 51 formalin-fixed archival HNSCC samples using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR approach, correlated with patients' clinical parameters. Functional characterization of HNSCC-associated miRNAs was conducted on three HNSCC cell lines. Cell viability and proliferation were investigated using MTS and clonogenic assays, respectively; cell cycle analyses were assessed using flow cytometry.

RESULTS: Thirty-eight of the 117 (33%) consistently detected miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between malignant versus normal tissues. Concordant with previous reports, overexpression of miR-21, miR-155, let-7i, and miR-142-3p and underexpression of miR-125b and miR-375 were detected. Upregulation of miR-423, miR-106b, miR-20a, and miR-16 as well as downregulation of miR-10a were newly observed. Exogenous overexpression of miR-375 in HNSCC cell lines reduced proliferation and clonogenicity and increased cells in sub-G(1). Similar cellular effects were observed in knockdown studies of the miR-106b-25 cluster but with accumulation of cells in G(1) arrest. No major difference was detected in miRNA profiles among laryngeal, oropharyngeal, or hypopharyngeal cancers. miR-451 was found to be the only significantly overexpressed miRNA by 4.7-fold between nonrelapsed and relapsed patients.

CONCLUSION: We have identified a group of aberrantly expressed miRNAs in HNSCC and showed that underexpression of miR-375 and overexpression of miR-106b-25 cluster might play oncogenic roles in this disease. Further detailed examinations of miRNAs will provide opportunities to dissect the complex molecular abnormalities driving HNSCC progression.

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