Purpose: Characterization of colorectal cancer transcriptome by high-throughput techniques has enabled the discovery of several differentially expressed genes involving previously unreported miRNA abnormalities. Here, we followed a systematic approach on a global scale to identify miRNAs as clinical outcome predictors and further validated them in the clinical and experimental setting.Experimental Design: Genome-wide miRNA sequencing data of 228 colorectal cancer patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset were analyzed as a screening cohort to identify miRNAs significantly associated with survival according to stringent prespecified criteria. A panel of six miRNAs was further validated for their prognostic utility in a large independent validation cohort (n = 332). In situ hybridization and functional experiments in a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines and xenografts further clarified the role of clinical relevant miRNAs.Results: Six miRNAs (miR-92b-3p, miR-188-3p, miR-221-5p, miR-331-3p, miR-425-3p, and miR-497-5p) were identified as strong predictors of survival in the screening cohort. High miR-188-3p expression proves to be an independent prognostic factor [screening cohort: HR = 4.137; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.568-10.917; P = 0.004; validation cohort: HR = 1.538; 95% CI, 1.107-2.137; P = 0.010, respectively]. Forced miR-188-3p expression increased migratory behavior of colorectal cancer cells in vitro and metastases formation in vivo (P < 0.05). The promigratory role of miR-188-3p is mediated by direct interaction with MLLT4, a novel identified player involved in colorectal cancer cell migration.Conclusions: miR-188-3p is a novel independent prognostic factor in colorectal cancer patients, which can be partly explained by its effect on MLLT4 expression and migration of cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res; 23(5); 1323-33. ©2016 AACR.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.