Identification of MicroRNAs as Potential Prognostic Markers in Ependymoma

Costa, F. F.; Bischof, J. M.; Vanin, E. F.; Lulla, R. R.; Wang, M.; Sredni, S. T.; Rajaram, V.; de Fatima Bonaldo, M.; Wang, D.; Goldman, S.; Tomita, T.; Soares, M. B.

PLoS One. 2011 Nov 5; 6(10):e25114


INTRODUCTION: We have examined expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in ependymomas to identify molecular markers of value for clinical management. miRNAs are non-coding RNAs that can block mRNA translation and affect mRNA stability. Changes in the expression of miRNAs have been correlated with many human cancers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have utilized TaqMan Low Density Arrays to evaluate the expression of 365 miRNAs in ependymomas and normal brain tissue. We first demonstrated the similarity of expression profiles of paired frozen tissue (FT) and paraffin-embedded specimens (FFPE). We compared the miRNA expression profiles of 34 FFPE ependymoma samples with 8 microdissected normal brain tissue specimens enriched for ependymal cells. miRNA expression profiles were then correlated with tumor location, histology and other clinicopathological features. RESULTS: We have identified miRNAs that are over-expressed in ependymomas, such as miR-135a and miR-17-5p, and down-regulated, such as miR-383 and miR-485-5p. We have also uncovered associations between expression of specific miRNAs which portend a worse prognosis. For example, we have identified a cluster of miRNAs on human chromosome 14q32 that is associated with time to relapse. We also found that miR-203 is an independent marker for relapse compared to the parameters that are currently used. Additionally, we have identified three miRNAs (let-7d, miR-596 and miR-367) that strongly correlate to overall survival. CONCLUSION: We have identified miRNAs that are differentially expressed in ependymomas compared with normal ependymal tissue. We have also uncovered significant associations of miRNAs with clinical behavior. This is the first report of clinically relevant miRNAs in ependymomas.

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