MicroRNA expression profiling in benign (sporadic and hereditary) and recurring adrenal pheochromocytomas

Zsófia Tömböl, Katalin Éder, Attila Kovács, Peter M. Szabó, Janina Kulka, István Likó, Attila Zalatnai, Gergely Rácz, Miklós Tóth, Attila Patócs, András Falus, Károly Rácz, Peter Igaz

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46 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs are involved in the pathogenesis of several tumors, however, there have been no data on microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas to date. The objective of our study was to perform microRNA expression profiling in sporadic and hereditary benign, and recurring adrenomedullary tumors. Furthermore, the applicability of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples for the analysis of microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas was examined. MicroRNA expression data of three matched frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples were correlated. A total of 21 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples (sporadic benign, multiple endocrine neoplasia 2, von Hippel-Lindau disease, sporadic recurring) were subjected to microRNA expression profiling using microarrays. MicroRNAs with significant differences in expression were validated and sample sizes were extended including tumors from neurofibromatosis type 1 patients by real-time quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (n33). MicroRNA target prediction was carried out by TargetScan and MicroCosm Targets. Pathway analysis of targets was performed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and DIANA mirPath. Furthermore, microRNA expression profiles of a malignant pheochromocytoma and a pair of primary and recurrent tumors were studied by TaqMan Human MicroRNA Cards. MicroRNA expression correlated well between frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples (70-92%). Microarray analysis revealed 16 significantly differentially expressed microRNAs. Five of these were validated by real-time RT-PCR. miR-139-3p, miR-541 and miR-765 were significantly differentially expressed between sporadic benign and von Hippel-Lindau-related pheochromocytomas. Significantly higher expression of miR-885-5p and miR-1225-3p was found in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 and sporadic recurring pheochromocytomas, respectively. Pathway analysis revealed the possible involvement of Notch- and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling in tumor recurrence. MicroRNA expression profiles in the primary recurrent and recurring malignant comparisons have been similar. In conclusion, we have proved that formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples can be used for the analysis of microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas. MicroRNA expression patterns differ between various sporadic, hereditary and recurring tumors and miR-1225-3p may be useful for identifying recurring pheochromocytomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1583-1595
Number of pages13
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2010



  • formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded
  • microRNA
  • multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2
  • pheochromocytoma
  • recurring
  • von Hippel-Lindau disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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