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miRNAs expression profiling to distinguish lung squamous-cell carcinoma from adenocarcinoma subtypes

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We investigated whether miRNA expression profiles can distinguish and predict outcome of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients with different histological subtypes.


High-throughput microarray was used to measure miRNA expression levels in six NSCLC samples. Subsequently, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to verify findings in an independent set of 54 squamous-cell lung carcinomas (SCC), 51 lung adenocarcinomas (AD), and paired adjacent non-neoplastic lung tissue.


We showed that, compared to adjacent non-neoplastic lung tissues, the expressions of miR-125a-5p and let-7e were decreased in AD and SCC samples, while increased expressions of miR-93, miR-205, and miR-221 were observed in SCC samples. In addition, miR-205 expression was significantly higher in SCC patients with lymph node metastasis. Lower let-7e expression was associated with lymph node metastasis, >3 cm tumor size, and differentiation of the NSCLC AD subtype. High levels of miR-100 expression also correlated with the AD subtype in current smokers. Moreover, induction of miR-93 and miR-205 expressions and reduction of let-7e were strongly associated with shorter overall survival in SCC patients, whereas AD patient survival was only associated with reduced let-7e.


We identified differential expression profiles of miRNAs in AD and SCC. More importantly, in addition to morphology and immunocytochemistry approaches, we report that miR-93, miR-205, miR-221, and let-7e may represent novel biomarkers for differential diagnosis and prognosis of certain NSCLC subtypes or be new targets of histology-specific treatments. Furthermore, our results suggest a strong correlation between high expression of miR-100 and AD patients with history of heavy smoking.

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This research was supported by grants from the Medical Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (No. 2009A210), the Science and Technology Program of Zhoushan (Nos. 20081059 and 091042), and the Medical Science Foundation of Zhoushan (No. 2009B03).

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The authors declare no conflict of interests exist in relation to the publication of this study.

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Correspondence to Han-Bo Le or Xiao-Guang Liu.

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Zhang, YK., Zhu, WY., He, JY. et al. miRNAs expression profiling to distinguish lung squamous-cell carcinoma from adenocarcinoma subtypes. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 138, 1641–1650 (2012).

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