MicroRNA-425-3p predicts response to sorafenib therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Valentina Vaira, Massimo Roncalli, Carlo Carnaghi, Alice Faversani, Marco Maggioni, Claudia Augello, Lorenza Rimassa, Tiziana Pressiani, Gaia Spagnuolo, Luca Di Tommaso, Stefano Fagiuoli, Elena Rota Caremoli, Massimo Barberis, Roberto Labianca, Armando Santoro, Silvano Bosari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aims: Sorafenib is the standard of care in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), however no criteria have been established to select patients likely to benefit from this therapy. In this study, we evaluated the predictive role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in this setting of patients. Methods: We profiled 522 miRNA in a series of 26 HCC patients treated with sorafenib (training set) and validated the results in an independent series of 58 patients (validation set). Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour and cirrhotic liver biopsies were used for RNA extraction and miRNAs profiling with TaqMan Arrays technology. Statistical analyses were used to correlate miRNA levels with clinical outcome, including time to progression (TTP), progression free (PFS), and overall survival. Cell viability and cell motility of HuH-7 or HepG2 HCC cells were tested in vitro after transfection with specific miRNA precursor, inhibitor or controls and sorafenib treatment. Results: Six miRNAs were significantly associated with clinical variables in the training set and only miR-425-3p could be further validated. Higher levels of miR-425-3p were associated with longer TTP and PFS (P = 0.0008; HR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.2-0.7 and P = 0.007; HR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.3-0.9 respectively). Multivariate analysis confirmed the predictive significance of miR-425-3p. Furthermore, an association between increased miR-425-3p, cell death and reduced cell motility was defined in vitro in HCC cell lines treated with sorafenib. Conclusions: Assessment of miR-425-3p levels in liver biopsies could help in stratifying patients with advanced HCC for sorafenib treatment. These promising results need to be confirmed in a large prospective study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1086
Number of pages10
JournalLiver International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver
  • MicroRNAs
  • Sorafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Medicine(all)


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