miRNAs are considered important players in oncogenesis, serving either as oncomiRs or suppressormiRs.
Although the accumulation of somatic alterations is an intrinsic aspect of cancer development and many important cancer-driving mutations have been identified in protein-coding genes, the area of functional somatic mutations in miRNA genes is heavily understudied.
We identified and characterized over 10,000 somatic mutations and showed that some of the miRNA genes are overmutated in Pan-Cancer and/or specific cancers. Nonrandom occurrence of the identified mutations was confirmed by a strong association of overmutated miRNA genes with KEGG pathways, most of which were related to specific cancer types or cancer-related processes. Additionally, we showed that mutations in some of the overmutated genes correlate with miRNA expression, cancer staging, and patient survival.