New genes involved in cancer: News from the 35th ESMO Congress in Milan
MicroRNA (miRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. MiRNAs and other short or long non-codingRNAs expression profiling of human tumors has identified signatures associated with diagnosis, staging, progression, prognosis and response to treatment.
Early studies have shown that miRNA expression is deregulated in cancer and experimental data indicate that cancer phenotypes can be modified by targeting miRNA expression. Based on these observations, miRNA-based anticancer therapies are being developed, either alone or in combination with current targeted therapies, with the goal to improve disease response and increase cure rates. The advantage of using miRNA approaches is based on its ability to concurrently target multiple effectors of pathways involved in cell differentiation, proliferation and survival.
During the 35th ESMO Congress in Milan, there was a special Symposium on miRNAs. The first presentation was given by GA Calin of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA on MiRNAs identification in plasma and serum. The second talk focused on the role of miRNAs in regulating metastasis. MiRNAs role in lymphoid malignancy is poorly understood. In order to identify microRNAs associated with disease, CH Lawrie’s group from the University of Oxford, UK used microarray analysis to initially examine expression in 40 hematological cell lines, including 25 cell lines representing the major forms of B and T cell lymphomas. Amongst other things, this research revealed that microRNA expression is distinct between B and T cell lymphomas. In order to identify cancer functions of miRNAs, R Agami of the the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam performed genetic screens and showed that interplay between regulatory RNA binding proteins and miRNA exists and affects gene expression and processes such as cancer development.
MiRNAs were also the subject of a numerous poster and poster discussion presentations. Some of them are listed below:
Involvement of miRNAs in the invasion of esophageal cancer cells was presented by K Matsushima of the Nagasaki University, Japan.
Metastasis suppressing/promoting miRNA expression in primary and metastatic colorectal cancer was presented by MM Vickers of The Ottawa Hospital, Canada.
Detection and functional analysis of miRNAs in peripheral blood exosomes from cancer patients was presented by M Komoda of the Kyushu University Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan.
Expression of XIAP and miRNA-21 as predictor factors for lymph node invasion in rectum cancer was presented by FM Peria of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Optimization of miRNA extraction from formalin fixed paraffin embedded colorectal and lung cancer tissues was presented by I Gorn of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada.
The single nucleotide polymorphim C>G RS420549 in TGFBR1 and MiRNA-511 as a new biomarkers in advanced colorectal cancer was presented by JC Villa Guzman of the Reina Sofia Hospital, Cordoba, Spain.
Integrative -omics based next-generation molecular markers and targets in colorectal cancer were presented by D Barh of the Institute of Integrative Omics and Applied Biotechnology, Purba Medinipur, India.
MiRNA-196B and miRNA-363 were identified as gastric cancer specific miRNAs in human gastric cancer tissue. The study was presented by JY Cho of the Gangnam Severance Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.
MiRNAs overexpression in glioblastomas versus low-grade gliomas was presented by JC Martinez of the Instituto Oftalmico, Madrid, Spain
Correlation of miRNA profile with kinase genotype in gastrointestinal stromal tumours was presented by MA Pantaleo of the University Bologna, Italy.