Novel predictive tools for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) are urgently needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been increasingly investigated for their predictive value, and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy archives may potentially be a valuable source of miRNA sequencing material, as they remain an underused resource. Core biopsies of both cancerous and adjacent normal tissues were obtained from patients (n = 12) undergoing nephrectomy. After small RNA-seq, several analyses were performed, including classifier evaluation, obesity-related inquiries, survival analysis using publicly available datasets, comparisons to the current literature and ingenuity pathway analyses. In a comparison of tumour vs. normal, 182 miRNAs were found with significant differential expression; miR-155 was of particular interest as it classified all ccRCC samples correctly and correlated well with tumour size (R² = 0.83); miR-155 also predicted poor survival with hazard ratios of 2.58 and 1.81 in two different TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) datasets in a univariate model. However, in a multivariate Cox regression analysis including age, sex, cancer stage and histological grade, miR-155 was not a statistically significant survival predictor. In conclusion, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy tissues are a viable source of miRNA-sequencing material. Our results further support a role for miR-155 as a promising cancer classifier and potentially as a therapeutic target in ccRCC that merits further investigation.
Keywords: clear cell renal cell carcinoma/ccRCC; formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded/FFPE; miR-155; microRNA/miRNA; next generation sequencing/NGS.