Identification and functional validation of reciprocal microRNA-mRNA pairings in African American prostate cancer disparities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical Cancer Research








©2015 AACR. Purpose: African Americans (AA) exhibit higher rates of prostate cancer incidence and mortality compared with European American (EA) men. In addition to socioeconomic influences, biologic factors are believed to play a critical role in prostate cancer disparities. We investigated whether population-specific and -enriched miRNA-mRNA interactions might contribute to prostate cancer disparities. Experimental Design: Integrative genomics was used, combining miRNA and mRNA profiling, miRNA target prediction, pathway analysis, and functional validation, to map miRNA-mRNA interactions associated with prostate cancer disparities. Results: We identified 22 AA-specific and 18 EA-specific miRNAs in prostate cancer versus patient-matched normal prostate, and 10 "AA-enriched/-depleted" miRNAs in AA prostate cancer versus EA prostate cancer comparisons. Many of these population-specific/-enriched miRNAs could be paired with target mRNAs that exhibited an inverse pattern of differential expression. Pathway analysis revealed EGFR (or ERBB) signaling as a critical pathway significantly regulated by AA-specific/-enriched mRNAs and miRNA-mRNA pairings. Novel miRNA-mRNA pairings were validated by qRT-PCR, Western blot, and/or IHC analyses in prostate cancer specimens. Loss/gain of function assays performed in population-specific prostate cancer cell lines confirmed miR-133a/MCL1, miR-513c/STAT1, miR-96/FOXO3A, miR-145/ITPR2, and miR-34a/PPP2R2A as critical miRNA-mRNA pairings driving oncogenesis. Manipulating the balance of these pairings resulted in decreased proliferation and invasion, and enhanced sensitization to docetaxel-induced cytotoxicity in AA prostate cancer cells. Conclusions: Our data suggest that AA-specific/-enriched miRNA-mRNA pairings may play a critical role in the activation of oncogenic pathways in AA prostate cancer. Our findings also suggest that miR-133a/MCL1, miR-513c/STAT1, and miR-96/FOXO3A may have clinical significance in the development of novel strategies for treating aggressive prostate cancer.

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