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Duck-Woo Kim 1 Article
Stromal Expression of MicroRNA-21 in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Patients with Distant Metastases
Kyu Sang Lee, Soo Kyung Nam, Jiwon Koh, Duck-Woo Kim, Sung-Bum Kang, Gheeyoung Choe, Woo Ho Kim, Hye Seung Lee
J Pathol Transl Med. 2016;50(4):270-277.   Published online May 31, 2016
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AbstractAbstract PDF
The aim of this study was to determine the regional heterogeneity and clinicopathological significance of microRNA-21 (miR-21) in advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with distant metastasis.
miR-21 expression was investigated by using locked nucleic acid– fluorescence in situ hybridization in the center and periphery of the primary cancer and in distant metastasis from 170 patients with advanced CRC. In addition, α-smooth muscle actin and desmin were evaluated to identify cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) by using immunohistochemistry.
The miR-21 signal was observed in the cancer stroma. The expression of miR-21 (a score of 1–4) in the center and periphery of the primary cancer and in distant metastasis was observed in specimens from 133 (78.2%), 105 (61.8%), and 91 (53.5%) patients, respectively. miR-21 expression was heterogeneous in advanced CRC. Discordance between miR-21 expression in the center of the primary cancer and either the periphery of the primary cancer or distant metastasis was 31.7% or 44.7%, respectively. miR-21 stromal expression in the periphery of the primary cancer was significantly associated with a better prognosis (p=.004). miR-21 expression was significantly associated with CAFs in the center of the primary cancer (p=.001) and distant metastases (p=.041).
miR-21 expression is observed in cancer stroma related to the CAF quantity and frequently presents regional heterogeneity in CRC. Our findings indicate that the role of miR-21 in predicting prognosis may be controversial but provide a new perspective of miR-21 level measurement in cancer specimens.


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JPTM : Journal of Pathology and Translational Medicine