Integrated analysis of miRNA and mRNA profiles enables target acquisition in human cancers

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Evaluation of: Buffa FM, Camps C, Winchester L et al. miRNA-associated progression pathways and potential therapeutic targets identified by integrated mRNA and miRNA expression profiling in breast cancer. Cancer Res. 71(17), 5635–5645 (2011).

miRNAs play a role in post-transcriptional gene regulation by translational repression and/or mRNA degradation in a very tissue-specific manner. In order to understand the function of a miRNA, it is best to identify the genes that it regulates. Putative mRNA targets of miRNAs identified from seed sequence matches are available using computational algorithms in various web-based databases. However, these tend to have high false-positive rates and, owing to a whole-genome approach, cannot identify tissue/tumor specificity of regulation. The evaluated article presents a large amount of data analyzing global RNA expression in breast cancer and examines whether miRNAs are prognostic due to their effects on mRNA targets. This valuable and important resource of combined miRNA and mRNA expression in breast cancer and its subtypes has been summarized. Many studies have now investigated the integrated analysis of miRNA:mRNA profiles in human malignancies, the goal as always being to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for each tumor.

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