The majority of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients are treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in first-line treatment; however, a fraction are refractory to these antiangiogenic drugs. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulatory molecules proven to be accurate biomarkers in cancer. Here, we identified miRNAs predictive of progressive disease under TKI treatment through deep sequencing of 74 metastatic clear cell RCC cases uniformly treated with these drugs. Twenty-nine miRNAs were differentially expressed in the tumors of patients who progressed under TKI therapy (P values from 6 × 10–9 to 3 × 10–3). Among 6 miRNAs selected for validation in an independent series, the most relevant associations corresponded to miR–1307-3p, miR–155-5p, and miR–221-3p (P = 4.6 × 10–3, 6.5 × 10–3, and 3.4 × 10–2, respectively). Furthermore, a 2 miRNA–based classifier discriminated individuals with progressive disease upon TKI treatment (AUC = 0.75, 95% CI, 0.64–0.85; P = 1.3 × 10–4) with better predictive value than clinicopathological risk factors commonly used. We also identified miRNAs significantly associated with progression-free survival and overall survival (P = 6.8 × 10–8 and 7.8 × 10–7 for top hits, respectively), and 7 overlapped with early progressive disease. In conclusion, this is the first miRNome comprehensive study, to our knowledge, that demonstrates a predictive value of miRNAs for TKI response and provides a new set of relevant markers that can help rationalize metastatic RCC treatment.


Jesús García-Donas, Benoit Beuselinck, Lucía Inglada-Pérez, Osvaldo Graña, Patrick Schöffski, Agnieszka Wozniak, Oliver Bechter, Maria Apellániz-Ruiz, Luis Javier Leandro-García, Emilio Esteban, Daniel E. Castellano, Aranzazu González del Alba, Miguel Angel Climent, Susana Hernando, José Angel Arranz, Manuel Morente, David G. Pisano, Mercedes Robledo, Cristina Rodriguez-Antona


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