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miRNA-ISH for Cancer of Unknown Primary

Blog: miRNA-ISH for Cancer of Unknown Primary

Summary

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are approximately 19–24 nucleotides in length and base-pair to complementary sites within messenger RNA (mRNA). Aided by the “RISC” complex this binding functions to promote down-regulation of the mRNA’s protein product. MicroRNAs are an important biomarker of cancer as a result of their involvement in multiple biological processes including development, differentiation, proliferation, metabolism, and apoptosis. Cancer is now diagnosed by two different but complementary modalities, liquid biopsy, and tumor tissue biopsy. Tumor tissue biopsy is still the “gold standard” for cancer diagnosis by pathologists. ISH is ideally suited for detecting miRNA in the “gold standard” of fresh, frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsy samples due to its sensitivity, specificity and the spatial information on tumor heterogeneity it provides, available at relatively low cost. BioGenex ISH system has the ability to generate a robust chromogenic signal while preserving the spatial context of the tissue sample. This provides a powerful tool for precise tumor characterization and a breakthrough for clinical research and analysis of cancer of unknown primary (CUP), poorly differentiated or undifferentiated tumors, and cancer staging.

 

Conclusion

Only the ISH techniques give the full spatial picture of the tumor which is crucial to aid the pathologist in diagnosis and for initiating tumor treatment decisions.

Introduction

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) were discovered in 1993 by Rosalind Lee and Rhonda Feinbaum in the laboratory of Victor Ambrost at Harvard University. [Lee] They were studying the development of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. MicroRNA, as a class of evolutionarily conserved small RNA are approximately 19–24 nucleotides in length that base-pair to sites within messenger RNA (mRNA), targeting these transcripts for down-regulation. MicroRNA target the full spectrum of cellular activities including development, differentiation, proliferation, metabolism, and apoptosis. As a result, they play a prominent role in infectious diseases and cancer. [Bhaskaran]
MicroRNA are important biomarkers for cancer screening, diagnosis, including cancers of unknown primary location, and prognostication. Tumor tissue biopsy is still the “gold standard” for cancer diagnosis and in situ hybridization is a particularly suitable miRNA detection method for diagnosis and prognostication. ISH is optimal due to its sensitivity and specificity, particularly the spatial tumor heterogeneity data it can provide. Compared to other techniques for miRNA analysis only in situ hybridization cost-effectively provides the spatial information routinely needed by pathologists for tumor grading, staging, and assessment of heterogeneity.

 

 

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