Cell-type specific expression of oncogenic and tumor suppressive microRNAs in the human prostate and prostate cancer

Sci Rep. 2018 May 8;8(1):7189. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25320-z.


MiR-1 and miR-143 are frequently reduced in human prostate cancer (PCa), while miR-141 and miR-21 are frequently elevated. Consequently, these miRNAs have been studied as cell-autonomous tumor suppressors and oncogenes. However, the cell-type specificity of these miRNAs is not well defined in prostate tissue. Through two different microdissection techniques, and droplet digital RT-PCR, we quantified these miRNAs in the stroma and epithelium of radical prostatectomy specimens. In contrast to their purported roles as cell-autonomous tumor suppressors, we found miR-1 and miR-143 expression to be predominantly stromal. Conversely, miR-141 was predominantly epithelial. miR-21 was detected in both stroma and epithelium. Strikingly, the levels of miR-1 and miR-143 were significantly reduced in tumor-associated stroma, but not tumor epithelium. Gene expression analyses in human cell lines, tissues, and prostate-derived stromal cultures support the cell-type selective expression of miR-1, miR-141, and miR-143. Analyses of the PCa Genome Atlas (TCGA-PRAD) showed a strong positive correlation between stromal markers and miR-1 and miR-143, and a strong negative correlation between stromal markers and miR-141. In these tumors, loss of miR-1 and gain of miR-21 was highly associated with biochemical recurrence. These data shed new light on stromal and epithelial miRNA expression in the PCa tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Atlases as Topic
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Microdissection
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Organ Specificity
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology


  • MIRN1 microRNA, human
  • MIRN143 microRNA, human
  • MIRN21 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs