The incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) among African-Americans (AfA) is significantly higher than Caucasian-Americans (CaA) but the genetic basis for this disparity is not known. To address this problem, we analyzed miRNA expression in AfA (n = 81) and CaA (n = 51) PCa patients. Here, we found that miR-24 is differentially expressed in AfA and CaA PCa patients and attempt to clarify its role in AfA patients. Also, the public sequencing data of the miR-24 promoter confirmed that it was highly methylated and down-regulated in PCa patients. Utilizing a VAMCSF and NDRI patient cohorts, we discovered that miR-24 expression was linked to a racial difference between AfA/CaA PCa patients. Interestingly, miR-24 was restored after treatment of PCa cells with 5Aza-CdR in an AfA cell line (MDA-PCa-2b), while restoration of miR-24 was not observed in CaA cells, DU-145. Ectopic expression of miR-24 showed decreased growth and induced apoptosis, though the effect was less in the CaA cell line compared to the AfA cell line. Finally, we found unique changes in biological pathways and processes associated with miR-24 transfected AfA cells by quantitative PCR-based gene expression array. Evaluation of the altered pathways showed that AR, IGF1, IGFBP5 and ETV1 were markedly decreased in the AfA derived cell line compared with CaA cells, and there was a reciprocal regulatory relationship of miR-24/target expression in prostate cancer patients. These results demonstrate that miR-24 may be a central regulator of key events that contribute to race-related tumorigenesis and has potential to be a therapeutic agent for PCa treatment.
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