Role of miRNAs in sigmoid colon cancer: A search for potential biomarkers

Diego Marques, Layse Raynara Ferreira-Costa, Lorenna Larissa Ferreira-Costa, Ana Beatriz Bezerra-Oliveira, Romualdo da Silva Correa, Carlos Cesar de Oliveira Ramos, Tatiana Vinasco-Sandoval, Katia de Paiva Lopes, Ricardo Assunção Vialle, Amanda Ferreira Vidal, Vivian Nogueira Silbiger, Ândrea Ribeiro-Dos-santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The aberrant expression of microRNAs in known to play a crucial role in carcinogenesis. Here, we evaluated the miRNA expression profile of sigmoid colon cancer (SCC) compared to adjacent-to-tumor (ADJ) and sigmoid colon healthy (SCH) tissues obtained from colon biopsy extracted from Brazilian patients. Comparisons were performed between each group separately, considering as significant p-values < 0.05 and |Log2(Fold-Change)| > 2. We found 20 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEmiRNAs) in all comparisons, two of which were shared between SCC vs. ADJ and SCC vs. SCH. We used miRTarBase, and miRTargetLink to identify target-genes of the differentially expressed miRNAs, and DAVID and REACTOME databases for gene enrichment analysis. We also used TCGA and GTEx databases to build miRNA-gene regulatory networks and check for the reproducibility in our results. As findings, in addition to previously known miRNAs associated with colorectal cancer, we identified three potential novel biomarkers. We showed that the three types of colon tissue could be clearly distinguished using a panel composed by the 20 DEmiRNAs. Additionally, we found enriched pathways related to the carcinogenic process in which miRNA could be involved, indicating that adjacent-to-tumor tissues may be already altered and cannot be considered as healthy tissues. Overall, we expect that these findings may help in the search for biomarkers to prevent cancer progression or, at least, allow its early detection, however, more studies are needed to confirm our results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3311
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Field-effect
  • MiRNome


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