• Open Access

MicroRNA profiling of clear cell renal cell cancer identifies a robust signature to define renal malignancy


Correspondence to: Prof. Dr. Glen KRISTIANSEN, M.D., Institute of Surgical Pathology, University Hospital Zurich (USZ), Schmelzbergstr. 12, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland.
Tel.: 0041 44 25 53457
Fax: 0041 44 25 54416
E-mail: Glen.Kristiansen@usz.ch


MicroRNAs are short single-stranded RNAs that are associated with gene regulation at the transcriptional and translational level. Changes in their expression were found in a variety of human cancers. Only few data are available on microRNAs in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). We performed genome-wide expression profiling of microRNAs using microarray analysis and quantification of specific microRNAs by TaqMan real-time RT-PCR. Matched malignant and non-malignant tissue samples from two independent sets of 12 and 72 ccRCC were profiled. The microarray-based experiments identified 13 over-expressed and 20 down-regulated microRNAs in malignant samples. Expression in ccRCC tissue samples compared with matched non-malignant samples measured by RT-PCR was increased on average by 2.7- to 23-fold for the hsa-miR-16, −452*, −224, −155 and −210, but decreased by 4.8- to 138-fold for hsa-miR-200b, −363, −429, −200c, −514 and −141. No significant associations between these differentially expressed microRNAs and the clinico-pathological factors tumour stage, tumour grade and survival rate were found. Nevertheless, malignant and non-malignant tissue could clearly be differentiated by their microRNA profile. A combination of miR-141 and miR-155 resulted in a 97% overall correct classification of samples. The presented differential microRNA pattern provides a solid basis for further validation, including functional studies.