Experimental and molecular pathology

Analysis of microRNA expression signatures in malignant pleural mesothelioma, pleural inflammation, and atypical mesothelial hyperplasia reveals common predictive tumorigenesis-related targets.

PMID 25236577


Pleural chronic inflammation (PP) and mesothelial hyperplasia (HP) may be critical to the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Nonetheless, studies searching for mechanistic links involving microRNA (miRNA) regulation among these interrelated processes have not been reported. Using PCR-Array, we identified the miRNAs expressed in pleural tissues diagnosed with MPM (n=5), PP (n=4) and HP (n=5), as well as in non-cancerous/non-inflammatory tissue as the normal control (n=5). We performed bioinformatics and network analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs to identify tumorigenesis-related miRNAs and their biological networks. The targets of four down-regulated miRNAs in MPM (mir-181a-5p, miR-101-3p, miR-145-5p and miR-212-3p), one in PP (mir-101-3p) and one in HP (mir-494) were significantly enriched in "pathways in cancer". Interactome networks revealed that >50% of down-regulated miRNAs in MPM targeted the signaling-activation molecule MAPK1, the transcription factor ETS1 and the mesenchymal transition-associated molecule FZDA, which have been associated with oncogenic function. Comparative analysis revealed that FZD4 was an overlapping gene target of down-regulated miRNAs that were associated with "pathways in cancer" in MPM, PP and HP. Moreover, MAPK1, ETS1 and Cox-2, a pro-inflammatory enzyme associated with over-expression in cancers, were among the 25 overlapping target genes in MPM and PP. This network analysis revealed a potential combinatory effect of deregulated miRNAs in MPM pathogenesis and indicated potential molecular links between pleural inflammation and hyperplasia with tumorigenesis mechanisms in pleura.