Functional study of risk loci of stem cell-associated gene lin-28B and associations with disease survival outcomes in epithelial ovarian cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Carcinogenesis (2012)


Several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the stem cell-associated gene lin-28B have been identified in association with ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer-related risk factors. However, whether these SNPs are functional or might be potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer prognosis remains unknown. The purposes of this study were to investigate the functional relevance of the identified lin-28B SNPs, as well as the associations of genotype and phenotype with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) survival. We analyzed five SNPs and mRNA levels of lin-28B in 211 primary EOC tissues using Taqman® SNP genotyping assays and SYBR green-based real-time PCR, respectively. The RNA secondary structures at the region of a genome-wide association-identified intronic rs314276 were analyzed theoretically with mfold and experimentally with circular dichroism spectroscopy. We found that rs314276 was a cis-acting expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) in both additive and dominant models, while rs7759938 and rs314277 were significant or of borderline significance in dominant models only. The rs314276 variant significantly affects RNA secondary structure. No SNPs alone were associated with patient survival. However, we found that among patients initially responding to chemotherapy, those with higher lin-28B expression had higher mortality risk (hazard ratio =3.27, 95% confidence interval: 1.63-6.56) and relapse risk (hazard ratio = 2.53, 95% confidence interval: 1.41-4.54) than those with lower expression, and these associations remained in multivariate analyses. These results suggest that rs314276 alters RNA secondary structure and thereby influences gene expression, and that lin-28B is a cancer stem cell-associated marker, which may be a pharmaceutical target in the management of EOC.