MicroRNA analysis of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and metastases


The incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasias (NEN) continues to increase. Since the primary tumor cannot be diagnosed in some cases of metastatic disease, new biomarkers are clearly needed to find the most probable site of origin. Tissue samples from 79 patients were analyzed and microRNA profiles were generated from a total of 76 primary tumors, 31 lymph node and 14 solid organ metastases. NEN metastases were associated with elevated levels of miR-30a-5p, miR-210, miR-339-3p, miR-345 and miR-660. Three microRNAs showed a strong correlation between proliferation index and metastatic disease in general (miR-150, miR-21 and miR-660). Further, each anatomic location (primary or metastatic) had one or more site-specific microRNAs more highly expressed in these tissues. Comparison between primary tumors and metastases revealed an overlap only in pancreatic (miR-127) and ileal tumors (let-7g, miR-200a and miR-331). This thorough analysis of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors demonstrates site-specific microRNA profiles, correlation with proliferation indices as well as corresponding nodal and distant metastases. Using microRNA profiling might improve NEN diagnostics by linking metastases to a most probable site of origin.