Through a new hypothesis-driven and microRNA-pathway-based SNP (miR-SNP) association study we identified a novel miR-SNP (rs713065) in the 3′UTR region of FZD4 gene linked with decreased risk of death in early stage NSCLC patients. We determined biological function and mechanism of action of this FZD4-miR-SNP biomarker in a cellular platform. Our data suggest that FZD4-miR-SNP loci may significantly influence overall survival in NSCLC patients by specifically interacting with miR-204 and modulating FZD4 expression and cellular function in the Wnt-signaling-driven tumor progression. Our findings are bridging the gap between the discovery of epidemiological SNP biomarkers and their biological function and will enable us to develop novel therapeutic strategies that specifically target epigenetic markers in the oncogenic Wnt/FZD signaling pathways in NSCLC.
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