Tumor-expressed microRNAs associated with venous thromboembolism in colorectal cancer

Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2022 Jul 1;6(5):e12749. doi: 10.1002/rth2.12749. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background: Colorectal cancer patients have an increased risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Because the exact mechanism is yet unknown, risk prediction is still challenging; therefore, new biomarkers are needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, relatively stable RNAs, that regulate a variety of cellular processes, and are easily measured in body fluids.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify novel tumor-expressed miRNAs associated with VTE.

Methods: In a cohort of 418 colorectal cancer patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2015 at the Leiden University Medical Center, 23 patients (5.5%) developed VTE 1 year before or after cancer diagnosis. Based on availability of frozen tumor material, tumor cells of 17 patients with VTE and 18 patients without VTE were isolated using laser capture microdissection and subsequently analyzed on the Illumina sequencing platform NovaSeq600 using 150-bp paired-end sequencing. Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, tumor stage, and grade. Differential miRNA expression was analyzed using edgeR.

Results: A total of 547 miRNAs were detected. Applying a 1.5-fold difference and false discovery rate of <0.1, 19 tumor-miRNAs were differentially regulated in VTE cases versus controls, with hsa-miR-3652, hsa-miR-92b-5p, and hsa-miR-10,394-5p as most significantly downregulated. Seven of the 19 identified miRNAs were predicted to regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor pathway.

Conclusion: We identified 19 differentially regulated tumor-expressed miRNAs in colorectal cancer-associated VTE, which may provide insights into the biological mechanism and in the future might have potential to serve as novel, predictive biomarkers.

Keywords: biomarkers; colorectal neoplasms; high‐throughput nucleotide sequencing; microRNAs; venous thromboembolism.