Objectives: Micro-RNAs are a group of small noncoding RNAs with modulator activity of gene expression. Recently, micro-RNA genes were found abnormally expressed in several types of cancers. To study the role of the micro-RNAs in human kidney and bladder cancer, we analyzed the expression profile of 245 micro-RNAs in kidney and bladder primary tumors.
Methods and materials: A total of 27 kidney specimens (20 carcinomas, 4 benign renal tumors, and 3 normal parenchyma) and 27 bladder specimens (25 urothelial carcinomas and 2 normal mucosa) were included in the study. Total RNA was used for hybridization on an oligonucleotide microchip for micro-RNA profiling developed in our laboratories. This microchip contains 368 probes in triplicate, corresponding to 245 human and mouse micro-RNA genes.
Results: A set of 4 human micro-RNAs (miR-28, miR-185, miR-27, and let-7f-2) were found significantly up-regulated in renal cell carcinoma (P < 0.05) compared to normal kidney. Human micro-RNAs miR-223, miR-26b, miR-221, miR-103-1, miR-185, miR-23b, miR-203, miR-17-5p, miR-23a, and miR-205 were significantly up-regulated in bladder cancers (P < 0.05) compared to normal bladder mucosa. Of the kidney cancers studied, there was no differential micro-RNA expression across various stages, whereas with increasing tumor-nodes-metastasis staging in bladder cancer, miR-26b showed a moderate decreasing trend (P = 0.082).
Conclusions: Our results show that different micro-RNAs are deregulated in kidney and bladder cancer, suggesting the involvement of these genes in the development and progression of these malignancies. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of micro-RNAs in neoplastic transformation and to test the potential clinical usefulness of micro-RNAs microarrays as diagnostic and prognostic tool.