MicroRNA profiling in a case-control study of African American women with uterine serous carcinoma


Objective: Uterine serous carcinoma (USC) is an aggressive subtype of endometrial cancer associated with worse survival outcomes in African American (AA) patients. This study evaluated tumor miRNA expression by race, clinical and tumor characteristics, and survival outcomes.

Methods: FFPE tumor tissue from hysterectomy specimens was identified for 29 AA cases. Case matching was performed by computer-based random assignment in a 1:1 ratio with Caucasian controls based on age, stage and histologic subtype (pure vs. mixed). RNA was extracted from 77 specimens (54 tumors and 23 matched normal endometrium). MicroRNA array profiling was performed by microRNA Hi-Power Labeling (Hy3/Hy5) and hybridization to miRCURY LNA microRNA Array 7th Gen.

Results: Clinical and treatment characteristics were similar for cases and controls, although use of adjuvant radiation was less common in African Americans (p = 0.03). Of 968 miRNAs analyzed, 649 were differentially expressed in normal endometrium vs. tumor. When compared by race, histologic subtype, stage or presence of LVI, no differentially expressed miRNAs were identified. In patients with disease recurrence at 3 years, the three most upregulated miRNAs were miR-1, miR-21-5p and miR-223. Of these, increased miR-223 expression (>median) was associated with worse OS (p = 0.0496) in an independent dataset (TCGA dataset) comprising of 140 patients with USC (mixed or pure serous). After adjusting for age, ethnicity and BMI, upregulation of miR-223 remained risk factor for death (adjusted HR 2.87, 95% CI 1.00-8.27).

Conclusions: MiRNA profiling did not identify biological differences between AA and Caucasian patients with USC. Upregulation of miR-223 may be a prognostic factor in USC.