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MicroRNAs as Potential Biomarkers in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Molecular Inflammation Research Group, Department of Medical Biology, The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19071873
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 22 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MicroRNA as Biomarkers in Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy)
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Abstract

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer associated with a poor prognosis. This carcinoma was named after its presumed cell of origin, the Merkel cell, which is a mechanoreceptor cell located in the basal epidermal layer of the skin. Merkel cell polyomavirus seems to be the major causal factor for MCC because approximately 80% of all MCCs are positive for viral DNAs. UV exposure is the predominant etiological factor for virus-negative MCCs. Intracellular microRNA analysis between virus-positive and virus-negative MCC cell lines and tumor samples have identified differentially expressed microRNAs. Comparative microRNA profiling has also been performed between MCCs and other non-MCC tumors, but not between normal Merkel cells and malignant Merkel cells. Finally, Merkel cell polyomavirus encodes one microRNA, but its expression in virus-positive MCCs is low, or non-detectable or absent, jeopardizing its biological relevance in tumorigenesis. Here, we review the results of microRNA studies in MCCs and discuss the potential application of microRNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis, progression and prognosis, and treatment of MCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: exosomes; extracellular microRNA; large T-antigen; protein-miRNA complex; small t-antigen exosomes; extracellular microRNA; large T-antigen; protein-miRNA complex; small t-antigen
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Konstantinell, A.; Coucheron, D.H.; Sveinbjørnsson, B.; Moens, U. MicroRNAs as Potential Biomarkers in Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1873.

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