MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ∼22 nucleotide-long noncoding RNAs involved in several biological processes including development, differentiation and proliferation. Recent studies suggest that knowledge of miRNA expression patterns in cancer may have substantial value for diagnostic and prognostic determinations as well as for eventual therapeutic intervention. We performed comprehensive analysis of miRNA expression profiles of 27 sarcomas, 5 normal smooth muscle and 2 normal skeletal muscle tissues using microarray technology and/or small RNA cloning approaches. The miRNA expression profiles are distinct among the tumor types as demonstrated by an unsupervised hierarchical clustering, and unique miRNA expression signatures were identified in each tumor class. Remarkably, the miRNA expression patterns suggested that two of the sarcomas had been misdiagnosed and this was confirmed by reevaluation of the tumors using histopathologic and molecular analyses. Using the cloning approach, we also identified 31 novel miRNAs or other small RNA effectors in the sarcomas and normal skeletal muscle tissues examined. Our data show that different histological types of sarcoma have distinct miRNA expression patterns, reflecting the apparent lineage and differentiation status of the tumors. The identification of unique miRNA signatures in each tumor type may indicate their role in tumorigenesis and may aid in diagnosis of soft tissue sarcomas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grant CA112270, a grant from LifeRaft and the Department of Pathology, Stanford University. SS was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the US National Institutes of Health.