Identification of MicroRNAs Differentially Expressed in Lung Carcinoid Subtypes and Progression

Ida Rapa, Arianna Votta, Barbara Felice, Luisella Righi, Jessica Giorcelli, Aldo Scarpa, Ernst-Jan M. Speel, Giorgio V. Scagliotti, Mauro Papotti, Marco Volante*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: To extensively explore microRNA expression profiles in lung carcinoids in correlation with clinical and pathological features. Methods: A PCR-based array was employed in the screening phase to analyze 752 microRNAs in a discovery set of 12 lung carcinoids, including 6 typical (3 with lymph node metastasis) and 6 atypical (3 with lymph node metastasis). The results were validated by means of real-time PCR in 37 carcinoids, including 22 typical (4 with lymph node metastasis) and 15 atypical (7 with lymph node metastasis), and 19 high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas. Results: Unsupervised cluster analysis segregated the pilot cases into 3 distinct groups. Twenty-four microRNAs were differentially regulated in atypical versus typical carcinoids, and 29 in metastatic versus nonmetastatic cases. Eleven microRNAs were selected for validation. All but 1 were significantly different among lung neuroendocrine tumor histotypes. Moreover, 5 (miR-129-5p, miR-409-3p, miR-409-5p, miR-185 and miR-497) were significantly upregulated in typical compared to atypical carcinoids. MiR-409-3p, miR-409-5p and miR-431-5p were also significantly downregulated in carcinoids metastatic to the lymph nodes. Predictive in silico analysis of specific target genes showed that these 3 latter microRNAs linked to metastatic potential are implicated in several cellular functions and highlighted several novel genes which may be worth exploring. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that lung carcinoids have distinct microRNA expression profiles as compared to high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas and that specific microRNAs might have potential implications as diagnostic tools or clinical biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-255
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Lung
  • Carcinoid
  • MicroRNA
  • Metastases
  • Classification

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