In silico functional analyses and discovery of survival-associated microRNA signatures in pediatric osteosarcoma

Oncoscience. 2014 Sep 23;1(9):599-608. doi: 10.18632/oncoscience.85. eCollection 2014.


Purpose: Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in children, adolescents, and young adults. In contrast to other childhood malignancies, no biomarkers have been consistently identified as predictors of outcome. This study was conducted to assess the microRNAs(miRs) expression signatures in pre-treatment osteosarcoma specimens and correlate with outcome to identify biomarkers for disease relapse.

Results: A 42-miRs signature whose expression levels were associated with overall and relapse-free survival waas identified. There were 8 common miRs between the two sets of survival-associated miRs. Bioinformatic analyses of these survival-associated miRs suggested that they might regulate genes involved in ubiquitin proteasome system, TGFb, IGF, PTEN/AKT/mTOR, MAPK, PDGFR/RAF/MEK/ERK, and ErbB/HER pathways.

Methods: The cohort consisted of 27 patients of 70% Mexican-American ethnicity. High-throughput RT-qPCR approach was used to generate quantitative expression of 754 miRs in the human genome. We examined tumor recurrence status, survival time and their association with miR expression levels by Cox proportional hazard regression analysis. TargetScan was used to predict miR/genes interactions, and functional analyses using KEGG, BioCarta, Gene Ontology were applied to these potential targets to predict deregulated pathways.

Conclusions: Our findings suggested that these miRs might be potentially useful as prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in pediatric osteosarcoma.

Keywords: microRNA expression; osteosarcoma; pathways; pediatric cancers; prognosis.