Variants in microRNA genes in familial papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Tomsic J, Fultz R, Liyanarachchi S, Genutis LK, Wang Y, Li W, Volinia S, Jazdzewski K, He H, Wakely PE Jr, Senter L, de la Chapelle A
Oncotarget 8 6475-6482 01/24/2017


Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC) displays one of the highest familiality scores of all cancers as measured by case-control studies, yet only a handful of genes have been implicated until now. Variants in microRNAs have been associated with the risk of several cancers including PTC but the magnitude of this involvement is unclear. This study was designed to test to what extent genomic variants in microRNAs contribute to PTC risk. We used SOLiD technology to sequence 321 genomic regions encoding 427 miRNAs in one affected individual from each of 80 PTC families. After excluding variants with frequency ≥ 1% in 1000 Genomes Phase 1 (n = 1092) we detected 1978 variants. After further functional filtering steps 25 variants in pre-miRs remained. Co-segregation was observed for six out of 16 tested miRNA variants with PTC in the families, namely let-7e, miR-181b, miR-135a, miR-15b, miR-320, and miR-484. Expression of miR-135a and miR-181b was tested in normal thyroid and tumor tissue from patients that carry the variants and a decrease in expression was observed. In vitro assays were applied to measure the effect of the variants on microRNAs' maturation. Four out of six variants were tested. Only the let-7e and miR-181b variants showed an effect on processing leading to lower levels of mature miRNA. These two variants were not detected in 1170 sporadic PTC cases nor in 1404 controls. Taken together, our data show that high penetrance germline sequence variants of miRNAs potentially predispose to a fraction of all PTC but are not common.

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