Background: The presence of sequence variants in miRNA genes may influence their processing, expression and binding to target mRNAs. Since single miRNA can have a large number of potential mRNA targets, even minor variations in its expression can have influences on hundreds of putative mRNAs.
Methods: Here, we evaluated 101 paired samples (cancer and normal tissues) from non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients to study the genotype distribution of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miR-146a (rs2910164 C-G), miR-149 (rs2292832 C-T), miR-196a2 (rs11614913 C-T) and miR-499 (rs3746444 G-A) and their influence on the expression of respective miRNAs.
Results: Relative expression of miR-146a, miR-149 and miR-499 were comparable in NSCLC and in paired control tissues. On the contrary, we clearly detected a significant increase (p<0.001) of miR-196a2 expression in NSCLC. In particular we found a significant association between miR-196a2 CC genotype and high expression, whereas TT geno-type showed a very low expression in comparison to both CT (p<0.005) and CC patients (p<0.01). We did not find any association between miR-149, miR-196a2 and miR-499 genotype and risk of NSCLC. Conversely, CG genotype of miR-146a appeared associated to an increased risk for NSCLC (p=0.042 and 1.77 OR).
Conclusions: Our results seem to demonstrate that sequence variants of miR-196a2 can have an influence on its expression, while miR-146a can have a role in increasing the risk of NSCLC.