Transcriptomic profiles-based approach to decode the role of miR-122 in triple negative breast cancer

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2023 Jul;62(7):392-404. doi: 10.1002/gcc.23126. Epub 2023 Feb 21.


miR-122 has been considered both as tumor suppressor miRNA and oncomiR in breast tumor phenotypes. However, the role of miR-122 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is still unknown. In this study, the clinical value of miR-122 was used to describe the transcriptomic landscape of TNBC tumors obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Low expression levels of miR-122 were associated with poor overall survival (OS) of TNBC patients than those with higher expression levels of miR-122. We identified gene expression profiles in TNBC tumors expressed lower or higher miR-122. Gene coexpression networks analysis revealed gene modules and hub genes specific to TNBC tumors with low or high miR-122 levels. Gene ontology and KEGG pathways analysis revealed that gene modules in TNBC with gain of miR-122 were related to cell cycle and DNA repair, while in TNBC with loss of miR-122 were enriched in cell cycle, proliferation, apoptosis and activation of cell migration and invasion. The expression of hub genes distinguished TNBC tumors with gain or loss of miR-122 from normal breast tissues. Furthermore, high levels of hub genes were associated with better OS in TNBC patients. Interestingly, the gene coexpression network related to loss of miR-122 were enriched with target genes of miR-122, but this did not observed in those with gain of miR-122. Target genes of miR-122 are oncogenes mainly associated with cell differentiation-related processes. Finally, 75 genes were identified exclusively associated to loss of miR-122, which are also implicated in cell differentiation. In conclusion, miR-122 could act as tumor suppressor by controlling oncogenes in TNBC.

Keywords: TNBC; WGCNA; miR-122; transcriptomic profile; tumor suppressor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Transcriptome
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms* / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • MIRN122 microRNA, human