tRNA-derived small RNA 3′U-tRFValCAC promotes tumour migration and early progression in ovarian cancer

Konstantina Panoutsopoulou, Paraskevi Magkou, Tobias Dreyer, Julia Dorn, Eva Obermayr, Sven Mahner, Toon van Gorp, Ioana Braicu, Viktor Magdolen, Robert Zeillinger, Margaritis Avgeris, Andreas Scorilas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite recent advances in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) management, the highly heterogenous histological/molecular tumour background and patients' treatment response obstructs personalised prognosis and therapeutics. Herein, we have studied the role and clinical utility of the novel subclass of tRNA-derived small RNA fragments emerging via 3′-trailer processing of pre-tRNAs (3′U-tRFs) in EOC. Methods: SK-OV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells were used for in vitro study. Following transfection, cell growth and migration were assessed by CCK8 and wound healing assays, respectively. 3′U-tRFs levels were assessed by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), following 3′-end RNA polyadenylation. A screening (OVCAD, n = 100) and institutionally independent validation (TU Munich, n = 103) cohorts were employed for survival analysis using disease progression and patients' death as clinical end-points. Bootstrap analysis was performed for internal validation, and decision curve analysis was used to evaluate clinical benefit on disease prognosis. Results: Following primary clinical assessment, target prediction and gene ontology analyses, the 3′U-tRFValCAC (derived from pre-tRNAValCAC) was highlighted to regulate cell proliferation and adhesion, and to correlate with inferior patients' outcome. 3′U-tRFValCAC transfection of SK-OV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells resulted in significantly increased cell growth and migration, in a dose-dependent manner. Elevated tumour 3′U-tRFValCAC levels were associated with significantly higher risk for early progression and worse survival following first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, independently of patients' clinicopathological data, chemotherapy response, and residual tumour. Interestingly, 3′U-tRFValCAC-fitted multivariate models improved risk stratification and provided superior clinical net benefit in prediction of treatment outcome compared to disease established markers. Conclusions: 3′U-tRFValCAC promotes tumour cell growth and migration and supports modern risk stratification and prognosis in EOC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • 3′U-tRF
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Non-coding RNAs
  • Prognosis
  • ncRNAs
  • tRF-1
  • tRFs
  • tRNA-derived fragments
  • tsRNAs


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