Expression profiling of cancerous and normal breast tissues identifies microRNAs that are differentially expressed in serum from patients with (metastatic) breast cancer and healthy volunteersExpression profiling of cancerous and normal breast tissues identifies microRNAs that are differentially expressed in serum from patients with (metastatic) breast cancer and healthy volunteers
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Research group
Molecular Imaging, Pathology, Radiotherapy & Oncology (MIPRO)
Faculteit Geneeskunde
Publication type
London :BioMed Central Ltd,
Human medicine
Source (journal)
Breast cancer research / National Library of Medicine (U.S.); National Center for Biotechnology Information (U.S.) - London, 1999, currens
14(2012):1, 16 p.
Article Reference
E-only publicatie
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
University of Antwerp
Introduction: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of small noncoding RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression. As such, they regulate a large number of cellular pathways, and deregulation or altered expression of miRNAs is associated with tumorigenesis. In the current study, we evaluated the feasibility and clinical utility of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers for the detection and staging of breast cancer. Methods: miRNAs were extracted from a set of 84 tissue samples from patients with breast cancer and eight normal tissue samples obtained after breast-reductive surgery. After reverse transcription and preamplification, 768 miRNAs were profiled by using the TaqMan low-density arrays. After data normalization, unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis (UHCA) was used to investigate global differences in miRNA expression between cancerous and normal samples. With fold-change analysis, the most discriminating miRNAs between both tissue types were selected, and their expression was analyzed on serum samples from 20 healthy volunteers and 75 patients with breast cancer, including 16 patients with untreated metastatic breast cancer. miRNAs were extracted from 200 mu l of serum, reverse transcribed, and analyzed in duplicate by using polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Results: UHCA showed major differences in miRNA expression between tissue samples from patients with breast cancer and tissue samples from breast-reductive surgery (P < 0.0001). Generally, miRNA expression in cancerous samples tends to be repressed when compared with miRNA expression in healthy controls (P = 0.0685). The four most discriminating miRNAs by fold-change (miR-215, miR-299-5p, miR-411, and miR-452) were selected for further analysis on serum samples. All miRNAs at least tended to be differentially expressed between serum samples from patients with cancer and serum samples from healthy controls (miR-215, P = 0.094; miR-299-5P, P = 0.019; miR-411, P = 0.002; and miR-452, P = 0.092). For all these miRNAs, except for miR-452, the greatest difference in expression was observed between serum samples from healthy volunteers and serum samples from untreated patients with metastatic breast cancer. Conclusions: Our study provides a basis for the establishment of miRNAs as biomarkers for the detection and eventually staging of breast cancer through blood-borne testing. We identified and tested a set of putative biomarkers of breast cancer and demonstrated that altered levels of these miRNAs in serum from patients with breast cancer are particularly associated with the presence of metastatic disease.
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