MicroRNAs with prognostic potential for metastasis in clear cell renal cell carcinoma: a comparison of primary tumors and distant metastases

Joana Heinzelmann, André Unrein, Ulrike Wickmann, Sophie Baumgart, Marcus Stapf, Attila Szendroi, Marc-Oliver Grimm, Mieczyslaw R Gajda, Heiko Wunderlich, Kerstin Junker
Annals of Surgical Oncology 2014, 21 (3): 1046-54

BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulators of gene expression in tumor development and progression. However, their influence on metastasis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is less understood. To determine the role of miRNAs in metastatic progression, miRNA expression in primary ccRCC was compared to distant metastases.

METHODS: Total RNA of 53 primary ccRCCs, 35 distant metastases from lung, bone, brain, and abdomen, as well as 17 normal kidney tissues was isolated from fresh frozen tissue and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples. The miRNA microarrays were performed based on fresh frozen tissue. Results were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) on fresh frozen tissue and FFPE samples. Real-time cell analyses and transwell invasion assays were carried out after transient transfection of microRNA-30c (miR-30c) in cell line 786-O.

RESULTS: There were 14 miRNAs differently expressed in metastatic primary ccRCC and distant metastases compared to non-metastatic primary tumors. A strong correlation of miRNAs to progression-free- and cancer-specific 5-year-survival was determined. Specific miRNAs were differently expressed in distant metastases compared to primary ccRCC. A miRNA signature distinguished lung metastases from other metastatic sites. Overexpression of miR-30c increased adherence and decreased migration and invasion in the ccRCC cell line.

CONCLUSIONS: MiRNAs are deregulated in metastatic primary ccRCC and could be promising prognostic markers for an early prediction of metastasis. Alterations in miRNA expression characterize distant metastases of different metastatic sites. Furthermore, our study suggests a functional role of miR-30c in metastasis. The miRNAs could be a helpful tool for individual follow-up prediction and personalized therapy selection.

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