Research Papers:

Small non-coding RNA deregulation in endometrial carcinogenesis

Maria Ravo _, Angela Cordella, Antonio Rinaldi, Giuseppina Bruno, Elena Alexandrova, Pasquale Saggese, Giovanni Nassa, Giorgio Giurato, Roberta Tarallo, Giovanna Marchese, Francesca Rizzo, Claudia Stellato, Rossella Biancardi, Jacopo Troisi, Attilio Di Spiezio Sardo, Fulvio Zullo, Alessandro Weisz and Maurizio Guida

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:4677-4691. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2911

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Maria Ravo1, Angela Cordella2, Antonio Rinaldi1, Giuseppina Bruno1, Elena Alexandrova1,3, Pasquale Saggese1, Giovanni Nassa1, Giorgio Giurato1, Roberta Tarallo1, Giovanna Marchese1,3, Francesca Rizzo1, Claudia Stellato1, Rossella Biancardi4, Jacopo Troisi4, Attilio Di Spiezio Sardo5, Fulvio Zullo5, Alessandro Weisz1,6, Maurizio Guida4

1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Genomics, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Salerno, Baronissi, Italy

2Fondazione IRCCS SDN, Napoli, Italy

3Genomix4Life Srl, Spin-Off of the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Genomics, University of Salerno, Baronissi, Italy

4Department of Medicine and Surgery and Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics, “SS. Giovanni di Dio e Ruggi d'Aragona - Schola Medica Salernitana”, University of Salerno Hospital, Salerno, Italy

5Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Pathophysiology of Human Reproduction, University of Naples “Federico II”, Napoli, Italy

6Division of Molecular Pathology and Medical Genomics, “SS. Giovanni di Dio e Ruggi d'Aragona - Schola Medica Salernitana”, University of Salerno Hospital, Salerno, Italy

Correspondence to:

Maurizio Guida, e-mail: [email protected]

Alessandro Weisz, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: small non-coding RNA, endometrial cancer, miRNAs, piRNAs, snoRNAs

Received: November 02, 2014     Accepted: December 11, 2014     Published: February 28, 2015


Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) represent a heterogeneous group of <200nt-long transcripts comprising microRNAs, PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and small-nucleolar-RNAs (snoRNAs) involved in physiological and pathological processes such as carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Aberrant sncRNA expression in cancer has been associated with specific clinical phenotypes, grading, staging, metastases development and resistance to therapy.

Aim of the present work is to study the role of sncRNAs in endometrial carcinogenesis. Changes in sncRNA expression were identified by high-throughput genomic analysis of paired normal, hyperplastic and cancerous endometrial tissues obtained by endometrial biopsies (n = 10). Using smallRNA sequencing and microarrays we identified significant differences in sncRNA expression pattern between normal, hyperplastic and neoplastic endometrium. This led to the definition of a sncRNA signature (129 microRNAs, 2 of which not previously described, 10 piRNAs and 3 snoRNAs) of neoplastic transformation. Functional bioinformatics analysis identified as downstream targets multiple signaling pathways potentially involved in the hyperplastic and neoplastic tissue responses, including Wnt/β-catenin, and ERK/MAPK and TGF-β-Signaling.

Considering the regulatory role of sncRNAs, this newly identified sncRNA signature is likely to reflect the events leading to endometrial cancer, which can be exploited to dissect the carcinogenic process including novel biomarkers for early and non-invasive diagnosis of these tumors.

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