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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that control gene expression by targeting mRNA. It has been demonstrated that miRNA expression is altered in many human cancers, suggesting that they may play a role in human neoplasia. To determine whether miRNA expression is altered in pituitary adenomas, we analyzed the entire miRNAome in 32 pituitary adenomas and in 6 normal pituitary samples by microarray and by Real-Time PCR. Here, we show that 30 miRNAs are differentially expressed between normal pituitary and pituitary adenomas. Moreover, 24 miRNAs were identified as a predictive signature of pituitary adenoma and 29 miRNAs were able to predict pituitary adenoma histotype. miRNA expression could differentiate micro- from macro-adenomas and treated from non-treated patient samples. Several of the identified miRNAs are involved in cell proliferation and apoptosis, suggesting that their deregulated expression may be involved in pituitary tumorigenesis. Predictive miRNAs could be potentially useful diagnostic markers, improving the classification of pituitary adenomas. J. Cell. Physiol. 210: 370–377, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.