MicroRNA profiles in colorectal carcinomas, adenomas and normal colonic mucosa: variations in miRNA expression and disease progression

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MiRNAs are small, non-protein-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression either by post-transcriptionally suppressing mRNA translation or by mRNA degradation. We examine differentially expressed miRNAs in colorectal carcinomas, adenomas and normal colonic mucosa. Data come from population-based studies of colorectal cancer conducted in Utah and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program. A total of 1893 carcinoma/normal-paired samples and 290 adenoma tissue samples were run on the Agilent Human miRNA Microarray V19.0 which contained 2006 miRNAs. We tested for significant differences in miRNA expression between paired carcinoma/adenoma/normal colonic tissue samples. Fewer than 600 miRNAs were expressed in >80% of people for colonic tissue; of these 86.5% were statistically differentially expressed between carcinoma and normal colonic mucosa using a false discovery rate of 0.05. Roughly half of these differentially expressed miRNAs showed a progression in levels of expression from normal to adenoma to carcinoma tissue. Other miRNAs appeared to be altered at the normal to adenoma stage, while others were only altered at the adenoma to carcinoma stage or only at the normal to carcinoma stage. Evaluation of the Agilent platform showed a high degree of repeatability (r = 0.98) and reasonable agreement with the NanoString platform. Our data suggest that miRNAs are highly dysregulated in colorectal tissue among individuals with colorectal cancer; the pattern of disruption varies by miRNA as tissue progresses from normal to adenoma to carcinoma.

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