Prognostic Value of MicroRNAs in Preoperative Treated Rectal Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Apr 15;17(4):568. doi: 10.3390/ijms17040568.


Background: Patients with locally advanced rectal cancer are treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy followed by surgical resection. Despite similar clinical parameters (uT2-3, uN+) and standard therapy, patients' prognoses differ widely. A possible prediction of prognosis through microRNAs as biomarkers out of treatment-naïve biopsies would allow individualized therapy options.

Methods: Microarray analysis of 45 microdissected preoperative biopsies from patients with rectal cancer was performed to identify potential microRNAs to predict overall survival, disease-free survival, cancer-specific survival, distant-metastasis-free survival, tumor regression grade, or nodal stage. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed on an independent set of 147 rectal cancer patients to validate relevant miRNAs.

Results: In the microarray screen, 14 microRNAs were significantly correlated to overall survival. Five microRNAs were included from previous work. Finally, 19 miRNAs were evaluated by qPCR. miR-515-5p, miR-573, miR-579 and miR-802 demonstrated significant correlation with overall survival and cancer-specific survival (p < 0.05). miR-573 was also significantly correlated with the tumor regression grade after preoperative chemoradiotherapy. miR-133b showed a significant correlation with distant-metastasis-free survival. miR-146b expression levels showed a significant correlation with nodal stage.

Conclusion: Specific microRNAs can be used as biomarkers to predict prognosis of patients with rectal cancer and possibly stratify patients' therapy if validated in a prospective study.

Keywords: biomarkers; chemoradiotherapy; miRNA; prognosis; rectal cancer; tumor regression grade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / analysis
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Rectum / metabolism
  • Rectum / pathology*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs