Validation of miRNA prognostic power in hepatocellular carcinoma using expression data of independent datasets

Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 15;8(1):9227. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27521-y.


Multiple studies suggested using different miRNAs as biomarkers for prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We aimed to assemble a miRNA expression database from independent datasets to enable an independent validation of previously published prognostic biomarkers of HCC. A miRNA expression database was established by searching the TCGA (RNA-seq) and GEO (microarray) repositories to identify miRNA datasets with available expression and clinical data. A PubMed search was performed to identify prognostic miRNAs for HCC. We performed a uni- and multivariate Cox regression analysis to validate the prognostic significance of these miRNAs. The Limma R package was applied to compare the expression of miRNAs between tumor and normal tissues. We uncovered 214 publications containing 223 miRNAs identified as potential prognostic biomarkers for HCC. In the survival analysis, the expression levels of 55 and 84 miRNAs were significantly correlated with overall survival in RNA-seq and gene chip datasets, respectively. The most significant miRNAs were hsa-miR-149, hsa-miR-139, and hsa-miR-3677 in the RNA-seq and hsa-miR-146b-3p, hsa-miR-584, and hsa-miR-31 in the microarray dataset. Of the 223 miRNAs studied, the expression was significantly altered in 102 miRNAs in tumors compared to normal liver tissues. In summary, we set up an integrated miRNA expression database and validated prognostic miRNAs in HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Neoplasm