JL Quesne, J Jones, J Warren, S-J Dawson, HR Ali, H Bardwell, F Blows, P Pharoah, C Caldas
Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are frequently dysregulated in a range of human malignancies, many have been shown to act either as tumour supressors or oncogenes and several have been implicated in breast cancer. However, breast cancer is a diverse disease and little is known about the relationships between miRNA expression, clinical outcome and tumour subtype. We used locked nucleic acid probe in situ hybridization (LNA-ISH) to visualize, in tissue micro-arrays (TMAs) of 2919 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) archival breast tumours, the expression of two key miRNAs that are frequently lost in a range of solid malignancies, let-7b and miR-205. These miRNAs were also quantified by quantitative reverse transcription PCR in cores of FFPE tissue from 40 of these cases, demonstrating that LNA-ISH is semi-quantitative. The tumours in the TMAs were assigned to subtypes based on their immunohistochemical (IHC) staining with ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6 and EGFR. let-7b expression was shown to be associated with luminal tumours and to have an independent significant positive prognostic value in this group. miR-205 is associated with tumours of ductal morphology and is of significant positive prognostic value within these tumours. We propose that the expression of miR-205 may contribute to ductal tumour morphology.