Neuroendocrine small cell cervical carcinoma (SCCC) is an
aggressive, rare form of cervical cancer, accounting for less than 3% of
all cervical cancers –.
SCCC is characterized by a high incidence of early nodal and distant
metastases, resulting in a poorer prognosis than other subtypes of
cervical cancer –.
Previous studies have reported that 60–82% of SCCC patients have
lymph-vascular space infiltration or pelvic lymph node metastasis at
Additionally, SCCC exhibits a propensity for rapid distant metastasis
via the bloodstream to various sites including the liver, lung, brain,
bone, pancreas and lymph nodes, which results in treatment failure in
most cases –.
Recurrences usually occur within 2 years, and most patients die as a
result of early metastasis. It is important to identify the factors
responsible for the survival of metastases in order to improve treatment
strategies for SCCC. However, due the rarity and the long time period
required to enroll a sufficient number of patients, most studies on SCCC
are comprised of small series or case reports, making it difficult to
determine the optimal therapy.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding RNAs 18 to 25 nucleotides in length .
The effects of miRNAs are mediated by binding to target mRNAs, to
either suppress mRNA translation or degrade miRNA-bound mRNA .
Currently, more than several hundred unique mature human miRNAs are
known, and many are involved in tumorigenesis, acting either as
oncogenes  or tumor suppressors , . Aberrant expression of miRNAs has also been linked to cancer , ,
suggesting that miRNAs potentially represent prognostic markers, and
leading to the use of miRNA profiling for the diagnosis and prognosis of
specific cancers. It has been shown that miRNAs are involved in every
type of cancer examined to date; however, the expression of miRNAs in
SCCC has not been investigated.
In this study, miRNA
qPCR arrays were performed on 44 SCCC samples, as we hypothesized that
investigation of miRNA profiles would provide more information on SCCC,
an inadequately understood disease with a poor prognosis.