Discovery of microRNAs and other small RNAs in solid tumors

Eti Meiri, Asaf Levy, Hila Benjamin, Miriam Ben-David, Lahav Cohen, Avital Dov, Nir Dromi, Eran Elyakim, Noga Yerushalmi, Orit Zion, Gila Lithwick-Yanai, Einat Sitbon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ~22-nt long, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene silencing. It is known that many human miRNAs are deregulated in numerous types of tumors. Here we report the sequencing of small RNAs (17-25 nt) from 23 breast, bladder, colon and lung tumor samples using high throughput sequencing. We identified 49 novel miRNA and miR-sized small RNAs. We further validated the expression of 10 novel small RNAs in 31 different types of blood, normal and tumor tissue samples using two independent platforms, namely microarray and RT-PCR. Some of the novel sequences show a large difference in expression between tumor and tumor-adjacent tissues, between different tumor stages, or between different tumor types. We also report the identification of novel small RNA classes in human: highly expressed small RNA derived from Y-RNA and endogenous siRNA. Finally, we identified dozens of new miRNA sequence variants that demonstrate the existence of miRNA-related SNP or post-transcriptional modifications. Our work extends the current knowledge of the tumor small RNA transcriptome and provides novel candidates for molecular biomarkers and drug targets.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbergkq376
Pages (from-to)6234-6246
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - 18 May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for open access charge: Internal funding.


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