Computational and molecular analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs in laryngeal cancer health disparities

Chayil Lattimore

Graduate Student, Biomedical Sciences Program-Cancer Biology Concentration

For several decades, Black laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) patients have maintained a higher rate of incidence as well as increased mortality. A molecular basis for this disparity remains elusive. Identification of molecular pathways that can potentially be exploited to elicit a tumor suppressive response is a crucial aspect of the identification of potentially useful cancer therapeutics in a health disparities setting. Our approach involves the utilization of differential miRNA expression between Black and White LSCC patients to computationally predict molecular pathways containing proteins that can potentially be targeted by existing drugs. miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that are involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. By computational analysis, we have predicted 15 miRNAs to be significantly differentially expressed in Black LSCC patients, and we have found the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway to be the most significantly enriched pathway for these miRNAs. This suggests that differential miRNA expression in Black LSCC patients may result in differentially expressed genes and proteins in the MAPK pathway. Therefore, the results of our computational analysis may reveal MAPK proteins that are potentially targetable by existing therapeutic.

Chayil Lattimore is a second-year graduate student in the UF Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Cancer Biology concentration. Her research focuses on uncovering the molecular mechanisms associated with laryngeal cancer health disparities in the context of race.

Core Standards

SC.912.N.1.4 Identify sources of information and assess their reliability according to the strict standards of scientific investigation.

SC.912.N.1.6 Describe how scientific inferences are drawn from scientific observations and provide examples from the content being studied.

SC.912.N.2.5 Describe instances in which scientists’ varied backgrounds, talents, interests, and goals influence the inferences and thus the explanations that they make about observations of natural phenomena and describe that competing interpretations (explanations) of scientists are a strength of science as they are a source of new, testable ideas that have the potential to add new evidence to support one or another of the explanations.

SC.912.L.16.5 Explain the basic processes of transcription and translation, and how they result in the expression of genes.

SC.912.L.16.6 Discuss the mechanisms for regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes at transcription and translation level.

SC.912.L.16.8 Explain the relationship between mutation, cell cycle, and uncontrolled cell growth potentially resulting in cancer


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