Deregulation of cancer-related miRNAs is a common event in both benign and malignant human breast tumors

Andliena Tahiri, Suvi-Katri Leivonen, Torben Lüders, Israel Steinfeld, Miriam Ragle Aure, Jürgen Geisler, Rami Mäkelä, Silje Nord, Margit L.H. Riis, Zohar Yakhini, Kristine Kleivi Sahlberg, Anne-Lise Børressen-Dale, Merja Perälä, Ida R.K. Bukholm, Vessela N. Kristensen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous non-coding RNAs, which play an essential role in the regulation of gene expression during carcinogenesis. The role of miRNAs in breast cancer has been thoroughly investigated, and although many miRNAs are identified as cancer related, little is known about their involvement in benign tumors. In this study, we investigated miRNA expression profiles in the two most common types of human benign tumors (fibroadenom a/fibroadenomatosis) and in malignant breast tumors and explored their role as oncomirs and tumor suppressor miRNAs. Here, we identified 33 miRNAs with similar deregulated expression in both benign and malignant tumors compared with the expression levels of those in normal tissue, including breast cancer-related miRNAs such as let-7, miR-21 and miR-155. Additionally, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression profiles were obtained for some of the same samples. Using integrated mRNA/miRNA expression analysis, we observed that overexpression of certain miRNAs co-occurred with a significant downregulation of their candidate target mRNAs in both benign and malignant tumors. In support of these findings, in vitro functional screening of the downregulated miRNAs in nonmalignant and breast cancer cell lines identified several possible tumor suppressor miRNAs, including miR-193b, miR-193a-3p, miR-126, miR-134, miR-132, miR-486-5p, miR-886-3p, miR-195 and miR-497, showing reduced growth when re-expressed in cancer cells. The finding of deregulated expression of oncomirs and tumor suppressor miRNAs in benign breast tumors is intriguing, indicating that they may play a role in proliferation. A role of cancer-related miRNAs in the early phases of carcinogenesis and malignant transformation can, therefore, not be ruled out
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-85
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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