The majority of lung cancer deaths are caused by metastatic disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression and miRNA dysregulation can contribute to metastatic progression. Here, researchers from Aarhus University used small RNA sequencing to profile the miRNA and piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) transcriptomes in relation to lung cancer metastasis. RNA-seq was performed using RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) lung adenocarcinomas (LAC) and brain metastases from 8 patients, and LACs from 8 patients without detectable metastatic disease. Impact on miRNA and piRNA transcriptomes was subtle with 9 miRNAs and 8 piRNAs demonstrating differential expression between metastasizing and non-metastasizing LACs. For piRNAs, decreased expression of piR-57125 was the most significantly associated with distant metastasis. Validation by RT-qPCR in a LAC cohort comprising 52 patients confirmed that decreased expression of miR-30a-3p and increased expression of miR-210-3p were significantly associated with the presence of distant metastases. miR-210-3p tumor cell specificity was evaluated by in situ hybridization and its biomarker potential was confirmed by ROC curve analysis (AUC = 0.839). Lastly, agreement between miRNA-seq and RT-qPCR for FFPE-derived RNA was evaluated and a high level of concordance was determined.
RNA species detected by miRNA-seq
Pie chart demonstrating the mean distribution of different RNA species detected by miRNA-seq in all sequenced samples.