Low Expression of miR-18a as a Characteristic of Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) occurs in both adults and children but the response to chemotherapy and survival is significantly worse in the adults. We aimed to study whether the expression of immune system-associated miRNAs would differ between adult and pediatric patients with ALL at the time of diagnosis.

Materials and Methods:

Inflammation-associated miRNA analysis was performed in 19 adults and 79 pediatric patients with ALL and involved miR-10, miR-15, miR-16, miR-17-92 cluster, miR-33, miR-146a, miR-150, miR-155, miR-181a, miR-222, miR-223, and miR-339. MiRNAs were first analyzed by miRNA microarray and thereafter validated by qRT-PCR. Sufficient RNA for qRT-PCR was available for 42 pediatric and 19 adult patients.


Of the studied miRNAs, only miR-18a differed significantly in microarray analysis between adult and pediatric ALL, being lower in children (FC, −3.74; P, 0.0037). Results were confirmed by qRT-PCR (down-regulated in pediatric patients, P 0.003161). The other members of the miR-17-92 cluster did not differ significantly.


Pediatric and adult patients with ALL have remarkably similar patterns of immune-cell–associated miRNAs in their bone marrow at diagnosis. However, the low expression of miR-18a in pediatric ALL is interesting and demands further study.

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