Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor with a dismal overall survival (OS) and to date no molecular markers are available to guide patient management. This study aimed to identify a prognostic miRNA signature in MPM patients who did not undergo tumor resection. Whole miRNA profiling using a microarray platform was performed using biopsies on 27 unresected MPM patients with distinct clinical outcome: 15 patients had short survival (OS<12 months) and 12 patients had long survival (OS>36 months). Three prognostic miRNAs (mir-99a, let-7c, and miR-125b) encoded at the same cluster (21q21) were selected for further validation and tested on publicly available miRNA sequencing data from 72 MPM patients with survival data. A risk model was built based on these 3 miRNAs that was validated by quantitative PCR in an independent set of 30 MPM patients. High-risk patients had shorter median OS (7.6 months) as compared with low-risk patients (median not reached). In the multivariate Cox model, a high-risk score was independently associated with shorter OS (HR=3.14; 95% CI, 1.18-8.34; P=0.022). Our study identified that the downregulation of the miR-99a/let-7/miR-125b miRNA cluster predicts poor outcome in unresected MPM.
Keywords: malignant pleural mesothelioma; miR-99a/let-7c/miR-125b miRNAs cluster; miRNA signature; prognostic biomarkers; unresectable tumors.