PloS one

miRNA as potential biomarkers of breast cancer in the Lebanese population and in young women: a pilot study.

PMID 25232827


Relative to western populations, the percentage of women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age in Lebanon is high. While the younger age of the Lebanese population compared to the West certainly contributes to this difference, potential genetic, reproductive and/or biological factors likely play an important role. The objective of this study is to investigate the contribution of miRNAs in this setting through the analysis of the expression of five reported dysregulated miRNAs, miR-148b, miR-10b, miR-21, miR-221, and miR-155 in 20 normal and 57 cancerous breast tissues from Lebanese breast cancer patients. After finding their relative expression by quantitative reverse transcription real time PCR, the results were analyzed with respect to the patients' clinical and histopathology presentations. Compared to normal breast tissues, significant upregulation of miR-155, miR-21 and miR-148b, notable downregulation of miR-10b and non-significant expression of miR-221 were observed in tumor tissues. Moreover, miR-10b was significantly underexpressed in estrogen/progesterone receptor (ER/PR) negative tumors relative to ER/PR positive tumor tissues. miR-155 was also significantly overexpressed in postmenopausal patients and in those of age at diagnosis greater than 40 years old as well as in PR negative or in human epidermal growth factor 2 (Her2) positive tissues. This study is the first one to report miRNA expression patterns in Lebanese breast cancer patients. We found that differential miRNA expression in breast cancer could be variable between Lebanese and Western populations. miR-10b was positively correlated with the ER and PR status and miR-155 could be a noteworthy biomarker for the menopausal state, age at diagnosis, PR and Her2 status. Hence, miRNA can be used as biomarkers for early breast cancer detection.