MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that are up-or downregulated in several types of cancer, and have an important role in the tumorigenesis and progression. To better understand the role of aberrantly expressed miRNAs and their target genes affecting the biology of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), we performed miRNA array in 19 cases of GIST, and found that several miRNAs, including miR-133b, were downregulated in high-grade GISTs. Subsequently, quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR revealed that fascin-1 mRNA was upregulated in accordance with miR-133b downregulation in high-grade GIST; this result was consistent with a previous report showing that fascin-1 might be a direct target of miR-133b. We then examined the fascin-1 protein expression by immunohistochemical staining in 147 cases of GIST, and found that fascin-1 overexpression was significantly correlated with shorter disease-free survival time and several aggressive pathological factors, including tumor size, mitotic counts, risk grade, blood vessel invasion and mucosal ulceration. Our results suggest that downregulation of miR-133b and overexpression of fascin-1 may have an important role in the progression of GIST, and that fascin-1 may be a useful biomarker to predict the aggressive behavior.
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