MicroRNA profiling of human kidney cancer subtypes

Int J Oncol. 2009 Jul;35(1):109-14. doi: 10.3892/ijo_00000318.


Although the functions of most of the identified microRNAs (miRNAs) have yet to be determined, their use as potential biomarkers has been considered in several human diseases and cancers. In order to understand their role in renal tumorigenesis, we screened the expression levels of miRNAs in four subtypes of human renal neoplasms: clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe renal cell carcinomas (RCC) as well as benign renal oncocytomas. We found a unique miRNA signature for each subtype of renal tumor. Furthermore, we identified unique patterns of miRNA expression distinguishing clear cell RCC cases with favorable vs. unfavorable outcome. Specifically, we documented the overexpression of miRs 424 and 203 in clear cell RCC relative to papillary RCC, as well as the inversion of expression of miR-203 in the benign oncocytomas (where it is underexpressed relative to normal kidney) as compared to the malignant chromophobe RCC (where it is overexpressed relative to normal kidney). Our results further suggest that overexpression of S-has-miR-32 is associated with poor outcome. While previous studies have identified unique miRNA expression pattern distinguishing tumors from different anatomical locations, here we extend this principle to demonstrate the utility of miRNA expression profiling to identify a signature unique to various tumor subtypes at a single anatomic locus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / genetics*
  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • MicroRNAs / analysis*
  • Prognosis


  • MicroRNAs