Noncoding RNAs play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We hypothesized that microRNAs (miRs) are involved in the transition from monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) to CLL and tested miR-15a/ 16-1 cluster, miR-21, and miR-155 expression in purified B cells of normal individuals, individuals with MBL, and patients with CLL.When we analyzed 224 samples from 2 independent training and validation cohorts, we found that miR-155 was overexpressed in B cells from individuals with MBL, and even more so in B cells from patients with CLL, when compared with B cells from normal individuals. Furthermore, we were able to identify miR-155 in circulating microvesicles from both individuals with MBL and patients with CLL. Next, to examine the prognostic role of miR-155, we measured its expression level in plasma samples collected before treatment initiation in 228 patients with CLL. We found significantly higher miR-155 expression levels in patients who failed to achieve a complete response compared with those who experienced complete response. Our findings support the use of cellular and plasma levels of miR-155 as biomarkers for the risk of progression in individuals with MBL, as well as to identify patients with CLL who may not respond well to therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology