Purpose: The proper validation of prognostic biomarkers is an important clinical issue in breast cancer research. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as a new class of promising breast cancer biomarkers. In the present work, we developed an integrated online bioinformatic tool to validate the prognostic relevance of miRNAs in breast cancer.
Methods: A database was set up by searching the GEO, EGA, TCGA, and PubMed repositories to identify datasets with published miRNA expression and clinical data. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed to validate the prognostic value of a set of 41 previously published survival-associated miRNAs.
Results: All together 2178 samples from four independent datasets were integrated into the system including the expression of 1052 distinct human miRNAs. In addition, the web-tool allows for the selection of patients, which can be filtered by receptors status, lymph node involvement, histological grade, and treatments. The complete analysis tool can be accessed online at: www.kmplot.com/mirpower . We used this tool to analyze a large number of deregulated miRNAs associated with breast cancer features and outcome, and confirmed the prognostic value of 26 miRNAs. A significant correlation in three out of four datasets was validated only for miR-29c and miR-101.
Conclusions: In summary, we established an integrated platform capable to mine all available miRNA data to perform a survival analysis for the identification and validation of prognostic miRNA markers in breast cancer.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Breast cancer; Gene expression; MicroRNAs; Prognosis; Survival.