Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) are relatively uncommon, accounting for 1–2% of all pancreatic neoplasms. Tumour grade (based on the Ki67 proliferative index and mitotic rate) is associated with metastatic risk across large cohorts; however, predicting the behaviour of individual tumours can be difficult. Therefore, any tool which could further stratify metastatic risk may be clinically beneficial. We sought to investigate microRNA (miRNA) expression as a marker of metastatic disease in PNETs. Tumours from 37 patients, comprising 23 with locoregional disease (L) and 14 with distant metastases (DM), underwent miRNA profiling. In total 506 miRNAs were differentially expressed between the L and DM groups, with four miRNAs (miR-3653 upregulated, and miR-4417, miR-574-3p and miR-664b-3p downregulated) showing statistical significance. A database search demonstrated that miRNA-3653 was associated with ATRX abnormalities. Mean survival between the two groups was correlated with mean expression of miRNA-3653; however, this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.204). Although this is a small study, we conclude that miRNA-3653 upregulation may be associated with an increased risk of metastatic disease in PNETS, perhaps through interaction with ATRX and the alternate lengthening of telomeres pathway.
- Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour