Research Papers:

Analysis of plasma microRNA expression profiles revealed different cancer susceptibility in healthy young adult smokers and middle-aged smokers

Bing Shi, Hongmin Gao, Tianyang Zhang and Qinghua Cui _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:21676-21685. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7866

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Bing Shi1, Hongmin Gao2, Tianyang Zhang1 and Qinghua Cui3

1 Department of Cardiology, Beijing Military General Hospital, Beijing, China

2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Beijing Military General Hospital No.263 Clinic, Beijing, China

3 Department of Biomedical Informatics, Centre for Noncoding RNA Medicine, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing Key Laboratory of Tumor Systems Biology, Peking University, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Qinghua Cui, email:

Keywords: cigarette smoking, plasma, microRNA, expression profile, cancer

Received: September 30, 2015 Accepted: February 23, 2016 Published: March 02, 2016


Cigarette smoking is a world-wide habit and an important risk factor for cancer. It was known that cigarette smoking can change the expression of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in healthy middle-aged adults. However, it remains unclear whether cigarette smoking can change the levels of circulating miRNAs in young healthy smokers and whether there are differences in cancer susceptibility for the two cases. In this study, the miRNA expression profiles of 28 smokers and 12 non-smokers were determined by Agilent human MicroRNA array. We further performed bioinformatics analysis for the differentially expressed miRNAs. The result showed that 35 miRNAs were differentially expressed. Among them, 24 miRNAs were up-regulated and 11 miRNAs were down-regulated in smokers. Functional enrichment analysis showed that the deregulated miRNAs are related to immune system and hormones regulation. Strikingly, the up-regulated miRNAs are mostly associated with hematologic cancers, such as lymphoma, leukemia. As a comparison, the up-regulated plasma miRNAs in middle-aged smokers are mostly associated with solid cancers, such as hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer, suggesting that smoking could have different influences on young adults and middle-aged adults. In a conclusion, we identified the circulating miRNAs deregulated by cigarette smoking and revealed that the age-dependent deregulated miRNAs tend to be mainly involved in different types of human cancers.

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