PURPOSE: We tested the hypothesis that expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cancer tissue can predict effectiveness of bevacizumab added to capecitabine and oxaliplatin (CAPEOX) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients with mCRC treated with first line CAPEOX and bevacizumab (CAPEOXBEV): screening (n = 212) and validation (n = 121) cohorts, or CAPEOX alone: control cohort (n = 127), were identified retrospectively and archival primary tumor samples were collected. Expression of 754 miRNAs was analyzed in the screening cohort using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays and expression levels were related to time to disease progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). Significant miRNAs from the screening study were analyzed in all three cohorts using custom PCR arrays. In situ hybridization (ISH) was done for selected miRNAs.
RESULTS: In the screening study, 26 miRNAs were significantly correlated with outcome in multivariate analyses. Twenty-two miRNAs were selected for further study. Higher miR-664-3p expression and lower miR-455-5p expression were predictive of improved outcome in the CAPEOXBEV cohorts and showed a significant interaction with bevacizumab effectiveness. The effects were strongest for OS. Both miRNAs showed high expression in stromal cells. Higher expression of miR-196b-5p and miR-592 predicted improved outcome regardless of bevacizumab treatment, with similar effect estimates in all three cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS: We have identified potentially predictive miRNAs for bevacizumab effectiveness and additional miRNAs that could be related to chemotherapy effectiveness or prognosis in patients with mCRC. Our findings need further validation in large cohorts, preferably from completed randomized trials.