mRNA/microRNA gene expression profile in microsatellite unstable colorectal cancer

Giovanni Lanza, Manuela Ferracin, Roberta Gafà, Angelo Veronese, Riccardo Spizzo, Flavia Pichiorri, Chang Gong Liu, George A. Calin, Carlo M. Croce, Massimo Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Colorectal cancer develops through two main genetic instability pathways characterized by distinct pathologic features and clinical outcome. Results: We investigated colon cancer samples (23 characterized by microsatellite stability, MSS, and 16 by high microsatellite instability, MSI-H) for genome-wide expression of microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA. Based on combined miRNA and mRNA gene expression, a molecular signature consisting of twenty seven differentially expressed genes, inclusive of 8 miRNAs, could correctly distinguish MSI-H versus MSS colon cancer samples. Among the differentially expressed miRNAs, various members of the oncogenic miR-17-92 family were significantly up-regulated in MSS cancers. The majority of protein coding genes were also up-regulated in MSS cancers. Their functional classification revealed that they were most frequently associated with cell cycle, DNA replication, recombination, repair, gastrointestinal disease and immune response. Conclusion: This is the first report that indicates the existence of differences in miRNA expression between MSS versus MSI-H colorectal cancers. In addition, the work suggests that the combination of mRNA/ miRNA expression signatures may represent a general approach for improving bio-molecular classification of human cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalMolecular Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Aug 23 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Medicine


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