Research Papers:

Identification of metastasis-associated microRNAs in serum from rectal cancer patients

Robin Mjelle _, Kjersti Sellæg, Pål Sætrom, Liv Thommesen, Wenche Sjursen and Eva Hofsli

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:90077-90089. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21412

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Robin Mjelle1, Kjersti Sellæg1, Pål Sætrom1,2, Liv Thommesen3, Wenche Sjursen1,4 and Eva Hofsli1,5

1Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

2Department of Computer Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

3Department of Biomedical Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7030 Trondheim Norway

4Department of Medical Genetics, St. Olavs Hospital, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7030 Trondheim Norway

5The Cancer Clinic, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, 7030 Trondheim, Norway

Correspondence to:

Robin Mjelle, email: [email protected]

Eva Hofsli, email: [email protected]

Keywords: rectal cancer, biomarker, microRNA, serum, isomiR

Received: January 20, 2017     Accepted: August 31, 2017     Published: September 30, 2017


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are promising prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers due to their high stability in blood. Here we investigate the expression of miRNAs and other noncoding (nc) RNAs in serum of rectal cancer patients. Serum from 96 rectal cancer patients was profiled using small RNA sequencing and expression of small RNAs was correlated with the clinicopathological characteristics of the patients. Multiple classes of RNAs were detected, including miRNAs and fragments of tRNAs, snoRNAs, long ncRNAs, and other classes of RNAs. Several miRNAs, miRNA variants (isomiRs) and other ncRNAs were differentially expressed between Stage IV and Stage I-III rectal cancer patients, including several members of the miR-320 family. Furthermore, we show that high expression of miR-320d as well as one tRNA fragment is associated with poor survival. We also show that several miRNAs and isomiRs are differentially expressed between patients receiving preoperative chemoradiotherapy and patients who did not receive any treatment before serum collection. In summary, our study shows that the expression of miRNAs and other small ncRNAs in serum may be used to predict distant metastasis and survival in rectal cancer.

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