miR-146a plays important roles in cancer as it directly targets NUMB, an inhibitor of Notch signaling. miR-146a is reportedly regulated by a G>C polymorphism (SNP; rs2910164). This polymorphism affects various cancers, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the clinical significance of miR-146a polymorphism in CRC remains unclear. A total of 59 patients with CRC were divided into 2 groups: a CC/CG genotype (n = 32) and a GG genotype (n = 27), based on the miR-146a polymorphism. cDNA microarray analysis was performed using 59 clinical samples. Significantly enriched gene sets in each genotype were extracted using GSEA. We also investigated the association between miR-146a polymorphism and miR-146a, NUMB expression or migratory response in CRC cell lines. The CC/ CG genotype was associated with significantly more synchronous liver metastasis (p = 0.007). A heat map of the two genotypes showed that the expression profiles were clearly stratified. GSEA indicated that Notch signaling and JAK/STAT3 signaling were significantly associated with the CC/CG genotype (p = 0.004 and p = 0.023, respectively). CRC cell lines with the pre-miR-146a/C revealed significantly higher miR-146a expression (p = 0.034) and higher NUMB expression and chemotactic activity. In CRC, miR-146a polymorphism is involved in liver metastasis. Identification of this polymorphism could be useful to identify patients with a high risk of liver metastasis in CRC.
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