Distinct methylation levels of mature microRNAs in gastrointestinal cancers

Masamitsu Konno, Jun Koseki, Ayumu Asai, Akira Yamagata, Teppei Shimamura, Daisuke Motooka, Daisuke Okuzaki, Koichi Kawamoto, Tsunekazu Mizushima, Hidetoshi Eguchi, Shuji Takiguchi, Taroh Satoh, Koshi Mimori, Takahiro Ochiya, Yuichiro Doki, Ken Ofusa, Masaki Mori, Hideshi Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


The biological significance of micro (mi)RNAs has traditionally been evaluated according to their RNA expression levels based on the assumption that miRNAs recognize and regulate their targets in an unvarying fashion. Here we show that a fraction of mature miRNAs including miR-17-5p, -21-5p, and -200c-3p and let-7a-5p harbor methyl marks that potentially alter their stability and target recognition. Importantly, methylation of these miRNAs was significantly increased in cancer tissues as compared to paired normal tissues. Furthermore, miR-17-5p methylation level in serum samples distinguished early pancreatic cancer patients from healthy controls with extremely high sensitivity and specificity. These findings provide a basis for diagnostic strategies for early-stage cancer and add a dimension to our understanding of miRNA biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3888
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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