Research Papers:

CpG promoter hypo-methylation and up-regulation of microRNA-190b in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer

Elisabet Frick, Thorkell Gudjonsson, Jorunn Eyfjord, Jon Jonasson, Laufey Tryggvadóttir, Olafur Stefansson and Stefan Sigurdsson _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:4664-4678. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27083

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Elisabet Frick1,2, Thorkell Gudjonsson1,2,3, Jorunn Eyfjord1,2, Jon Jonasson2,4, Laufey Tryggvadóttir2,5, Olafur Stefansson6 and Stefan Sigurdsson1,2,3

1 Cancer Research Laboratory, Biomedical Center, Reykjavik, Iceland

2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

3 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Center, Reykjavik, Iceland

4 Department of Pathology, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland

5 Icelandic Cancer Registry, Reykjavik, Iceland

6 Current affiliation: deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland

Correspondence to:

Stefan Sigurdsson,email: [email protected]

Keywords: breast cancer; microRNA-190b; DNA methylation; prognosis; estrogen receptor

Received: May 11, 2019     Accepted: June 29, 2019     Published: July 23, 2019


Estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer is subdivided into subtypes LuminalA and LuminalB, based on different expression patterns. MicroRNA-190b has been reported to be up-regulated in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. In this study we aimed to investigate the role of CpG promoter methylation in regulating miR-190b expression and its impact on clinical presentation and prognosis. DNA methylation analysis for the promotor of microRNA-190b was performed by pyrosequencing 549 primary breast tumors, of which 62 were carriers of the BRCA2999del5 founder mutation, 71 proximal normal breast samples and 16 breast derived cell lines. MicroRNA-190b expression was analysed in 67 primary breast tumors, 14 paired normal breast samples and 16 breast derived cell lines. Tissue microarrays (TMAs) were available for ER (n = 436), PR (n = 436), HER-2 (N = 258) and Ki67 (n = 248). MiR-190b had reduced promoter methylation in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers (P = 1.02e–12, Median values: ER+ 24.3, ER– 38.26) and miR-190b’s expression was up-regulated in a correlative manner (P = 1.83e–06, Spearman’s rho –0.62). Through breast cancer specific survival analysis, we demonstrated that LuminalA patients exhibiting miR-190b hypo-methylation had better survival than other patients (P = 0.034, HR = 0.29, 95% CI 0.09-0.91). We, furthermore, demonstrated that miR-190b hypo-methylation occurs less frequently in ER+ tumors from BRCA2999del5 mutation carriers than in non-mutated individuals (P = 0.038, Χ2 = 4.32, n = 335). Our results suggest that upregulation of miR-190b may occur through loss of promoter DNA methylation during the development of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancers, and that miR-190b hypo-methylation leads to increased breast cancer specific survival within the LuminalA- subtype but not LuminalB.

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