Analysis of microRNA-34a expression profile and rs2666433 variant in colorectal cancer: a pilot study

Colorectal Cancer

Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 9;10(1):16940. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73951-y.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are implicated in every stage of carcinogenesis and play an essential role as genetic biomarkers of cancer. We aimed to evaluate microRNA-34a gene (MIR34A) expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) tissues compared with non-cancer one and to preliminarily explore the association of one related variant to CRC risk. A total of 116 paraffin-embedded colon specimens were enrolled. MiR-34a was quantified by qPCR, and rs2666433 (A/G) genotyping was performed by TaqMan Real-Time PCR.

Also, the somatic mutation burden was assessed. MIR34A expression in the CRC specimens was significantly upregulated (median = 21.50, IQR: 7.0-209.2; P = 0.001) relative to the non-cancer tissues. Allele (A) was highly prevalent in CRC tissues represented 0.56 (P < 0.001). AA/AG genotype carriers were 5.7 and 2.8 more likely to develop cancer than GG carriers. Tumor-normal tissue paired analysis revealed genotype concordance in 33 out of 58 tissue samples. Approximately 43% of the specimens showed a tendency for G to A shift. Additionally, a higher frequency of somatic mutation (92%) was observed in adenocarcinoma (P = 0.006). MIR34A expression and gene variant did not show associations with the clinicopathological data. However, G > A somatic mutation carriers had more prolonged DFS and OS. Bioinformatics analysis revealed miR-34a could target 30 genes that are implied in all steps of CRC tumorigenesis. In conclusion, this study confirms MIR34A upregulation in CRC tissues, and its rs2666433 (A/G) variant showed association with CRC and a high somatic mutation rate in cancer tissues. MiR-34a could provide a novel targeted therapy after validation in large-scale studies.