Concerning adenocarcinomas of the esophagogastric junction, neoadjuvant chemotherapy is regularly implemented, but patients' response varies greatly, with some cases showing no therapeutic effect, being deemed as chemoresistant. Small, noncoding RNAs (miRNAs) have evolved as key players in biological processes, including malignant diseases, often promoting tumor growth and expansion. In addition, specific miRNAs have been implicated in the development of chemoresistance through evasion of apoptosis, cell cycle alterations, and drug target modification. We performed a retrospective study of 33 patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy by measuring their miRNA expression profiles. Histologic tumor regression was evaluated using resection specimens, while miRNA profiles were prepared using preoperative biopsies without prior therapy. A preselected panel of 96 miRNAs, known to be of importance in various malignancies, was used to test for significant differences between responsive (chemosensitive) and nonresponsive (chemoresistant) cases. The cohort consisted of 12 nonresponsive and 21 responsive cases with the following 4 miRNAs differentially expressed between both the groups: hsa-let-7f-5p, hsa-miRNA-221-3p, hsa-miRNA-31-5p, and hsa-miRNA-191-5p. The former 3 showed upregulation in chemoresistant cases, while the latter showed upregulation in chemosensitive cases. In addition, significant correlation between high expression of hsa-miRNA-194-5p and prolonged survival could be demonstrated (p value <0.0001). In conclusion, we identified a panel of 3 miRNAs predicting chemoresistance and a single miRNA contributing to chemosensitivity. These miRNAs might function as prognostic biomarkers and enable clinicians to better predict the effect of one or more reliably select patients benefitting from (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy.
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