The objective of the present study was to evaluate the role of microRNA-mediated remodeling of the extracellular matrix in the process of tumor invasion of oral squamous cell carcinoma and to evaluate its relationship with the prognosis of these patients. This was a retrospective study on material from the paraffin blocks of patients operated on for oral squamous cell carcinoma, in addition to a group of healthy oral mucosa samples of paired patients. miR-1-3p, miR-133-3p, and miR-21-5p were differentially expressed between the superficial and deep tumor groups. miR-21-5p was the one with the greatest accuracy in the differentiation between superficial and deep tumors. By immunohistochemistry, the group of deep tumors showed greater immunoreactivity to matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 and laminin α in tumor-associated fibroblasts, with consequent degradation of the basal membrane, measured by greater loss of continuity of type IV collagen. This process was also associated with lower and higher expression of miR-1-3p and miR-21-5p, respectively. There was also a trend toward better overall and disease-free survival rates in patients with higher miR-133a-3p. The present study showed the interaction between microRNAs and extracellular matrix remodeling in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
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