Purpose: We investigated the global microRNA expression patterns in normal pancreas, pancreatic endocrine tumors and acinar carcinomas to evaluate their involvement in transformation and malignant progression of these tumor types. MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by targeting specific mRNAs for degradation or translation inhibition. Recent evidence indicates that microRNAs can contribute to tumor development and progression and may have diagnostic and prognostic value in several human malignancies. Materials and Methods: Using a custom microarray, we studied the global microRNA expression in 12 nontumor pancreas and 44 pancreatic primary tumors, including 12 insulinomas, 28 nonfunctioning endocrine tumors, and four acinar carcinomas. Results: Our data showed that a common pattern of microRNA expression distinguishes any tumor type from normal pancreas, suggesting that this set of microRNAs might be involved in pancreatic tumorigenesis; the expression of miR-103 and miR-107, associated with lack of expression of miR-155, discriminates tumors from normal; a set of 10 microRNAs distinguishes endocrine from acinar tumors and is possibly associated with either normal endocrine differentiation or endocrine tumorigenesis; miR-204 is primarily expressed in insulinomas and correlates with immunohistochemical expression of insulin; and the overexpression of miR-21 is strongly associated with both a high Ki67 proliferation index and presence of liver metastasis. Conclusion: These results suggest that alteration in microRNA expression is related to endocrine and acinar neoplastic transformation and progression of malignancy, and might prove useful in distinguishing tumors with different clinical behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research