Recently, bone marrow has been considered as playing a critical role in the generation of both metastasis and recurrent disease. The accumulation of a single microRNA in the bone marrow has the potential to regulate the translation of multiple genes in cancer metastasis and may therefore serve as a prognostic marker for cancer recurrence. MicroRNA micro-array analysis was performed to compare microRNA levels in bone marrow from 4 breast cancer patients with recurrent disease and 4 patients without recurrence. Accumulation of two of these microRNAs, miR-21 and miR-181a, in the recurrent breast cancer cases was validated by RT-PCR in bone marrow from 291 additional breast cancer cases. Expression of a common target gene, PDCD4, was also determined in bone marrow from 291 breast cancer cases. Increased miR-21 and miR-181a levels were significantly associated with shortened disease-free survival (DFS; p=0.0003, 0.0007) and overall survival (OS; p=0.0351, 0.0443), respectively. While low PDCD4 expression was also significantly associated with poorer DFS (p=0.036). Multivariate analysis identified bone marrow miR-21 and mR-181a levels as valuable independent prognostic factors, with correlation coefficients that were significantly higher than that of the transcript of their common target gene. Accumulation of miR-21 and miR-181a in bone marrow appears to be associated with prognosis in breast cancer patients. The much higher significant correlation with microRNA levels and prognosis suggests epistatic effects on multiple target genes in the bone marrow of breast cancer patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research