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Triple-negative breast cancer subtypes identified using microRNA

ular virology, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State.

"Several of the deregulated microRNAs we found in the cancer samples are involved in chemo-resistance or radio-resistance. MicroRNA profiles can help us to improve and personalize therapies for individual patients," she says.

Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for about 15 percent of all breast cancers. It is characterized by cancer cells that lack estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. For this reason, these tumors do not respond to hormone therapies or HER2-targeted treatments.

MicroRNAs help regulate the kind and amount of proteins that cells make. They do this by binding with messenger RNA (mRNA), molecular copies of genes that are translated into proteins. When microRNA is bound to an mRNA, the messenger molecule cannot be translated into a protein. Instead, it is either temporarily stored or destroyed.

This study investigated associations between microRNA expression levels, mRNA expression levels and overall survival and distant-disease-free survival in women with triple-negative breast cancer.

Shapiro, Huebner and their colleagues evaluated 59 normal, 165 tumor and 54 metastatic matched tissue samples, obtained through The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the OSUCCC James.

The researchers ran a complete microRNA profile and a cancer-focused panel of genes for each sample. They then generated microRNA signatures represented by certain prognostic microRNAs that, when deregulated, indicate odds of survival.

"This was a large cohort of triple-negative breast cancer cases and a major analysis effort that we believe makes this work extremely valuable," Huebner says.

To stratify the cancers, the researchers determined microRNA and mRNA expression profiles in tumor, adjacent-normal tissue and lymph-node metastatic tissue from 173 women with the triple-negative breast cancer.

"We identified microRNAs and m

Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Ohio State University Medical Center

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