Elevated microRNA-125b levels predict a worse prognosis in HER2-positive breast cancer patients

Oncol Lett. 2017 Feb;13(2):867-874. doi: 10.3892/ol.2016.5482. Epub 2016 Dec 12.


Breast cancer, the second most common cancer worldwide, is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in women, accounting for ~15% of all cancer-associated mortalities in women. The development, local invasion and metastasis of breast cancer are associated with the dysregulation and mutation of numerous genes and epigenetic mechanisms, including coding RNA and non-coding RNA, such as microRNAs (miRs/miRNAs). Previous studies have shown a dual-faced role of miR-125b in breast cancer. In the present study, a total of 221 paraffin-embedded breast cancer and 49 paraffin-embedded non-cancerous breast tissue samples were collected. In situ hybridization was used to analyze the expression of miR-125b in the breast cancer tissues. Spearman's rank correlation analysis was used to analyze the expression correlation between miR-125b and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2). The overall survival estimates over time were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method with log-rank test. It was found that miR-125b expression was significantly increased in the breast cancer tissues compared with that in the non-cancerous tissues, and high miR-125b expression indicated a poor prognosis in the breast cancer patients. In addition, miR-125b expression was positively correlated with HER2, but not with progesterone receptor and estrogen receptor. Notably, high miR-125b expression was significantly correlated with tumor size and Tumor-Node-Metastasis stage in the HER2-positive breast cancer patients, along with a poor prognosis. The present study provides clinical data to confirm the oncogenic potential of miR-125b, particularly in HER2-positive human breast cancer. Thus, identification of miR-125b may be a potential molecular biomarker for the prediction of clinical outcomes in breast cancer patients, particularly HER2-positive cases that will receive paclitaxel-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Keywords: HER2; breast cancer; miR-125b; paclitaxel; prognosis.