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MicroRNA-34a underexpressed in Merkel cell polyomavirus –negative Merkel cell carcinoma tumors

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Title: MicroRNA-34a underexpressed in Merkel cell polyomavirus –negative Merkel cell carcinoma tumors
Author(s): Veija, Tuukka
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Haartman Institute
Discipline: Pathology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2014
Introduction: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine cancer of the skin that has a strong propensity to relapse and metastasize. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation and immunosuppression contribute to MCC. Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) is detected in 70% to 80% of MCC tumors, but the significance of MCV infection is not yet understood. MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been reported to associate with many types of cancer, and miRNA profiles of other cancers with a virus etiology have been defined. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of five miRNAs, miR-34a, miR-30a, miR-1539, miR-142-3p and miR-181d in formalin fixed paraffin embedded MCC tumor samples according to MCV status using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Materials and methods: Sufficient RNA was extracted from 26 tumor samples and from control skin sample using the miRNeasy FFPE Kit (QIAGEN, Valencia, CA, USA). Reverse transcription of the RNA was done using the miScript II RT Kit (50) (QIAGEN). QRT-PCR was executed with miScript SYBR Green PCR Kit (QIAGEN).and LightCycler 480 instrument (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim, Germany). Student's t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test were used to evaluate differences in miRNA expression. Results: We found a statistically significant underexpression of mir-34a in MCV-negative tumors compared to MCV-positives. The other four miRNAs studied did not show significant expression differences according to MCV-status. There was no statistically significant difference in miRNA expression according to tumor location or metastasizing. Conclusion: The difference in miRNA expression according to MCV-status suggests distinct pathogenesis of the tumors. The role of underexpressed miR-34a in MCV-negative tumor pathogenesis remains unclear but it might be consequential in the tumorigenesis of MCV-negative tumors.

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