microRNAs: Key regulators of chemotherapy response and metastatic potential via complex control of target pathways in esophageal adenocarcinoma
Hussey, Damian James
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Introduction: Incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) increased significantly over the last decades. Lack of response to chemotherapy is a major problem in the treatment of this disease. This study aims to assess the biological relevance of characteristic microRNA profiles of chemotherapy resistant EAC cells with regards to response to chemotherapy and biological behavior. Methods: We selected 3 microRNAs from characteristic microRNA profiles of resistant EAC (miR-27b-3p, miR-200b-3p, and miR-148a-3p). Expression of microRNAs was modified in 6 EAC cell lines. Effects on chemotherapy, adhesion, migration, apoptosis and cell cycle were assessed using standard assays. Target analyses were performed using Western Blot and Luciferase techniques. Results: MiR-27b-3p significantly sensitized cells to 5FU and Cisplatin in 83% respectively in 33% of cell lines, miR-148a-3p in 67% respectively 33% of cases. MiR-200b-3p increased sensitivity only towards 5FU in 50% of cases. Co-transfections with miR-27b-3p/miR-148a-3p showed an additive effect on response to chemotherapy in 50% of cases. Upregulation of miR-148a-3p reduced protein expression levels of DNMT-1, MSK-1, Bcl-2 and Bim, and miR-27b upregulation led to downregulation of Sp1 and PPARy proteins implicating a potential negative post-transcriptional control via the respective microRNAs. Finally, we were able to confirm Bcl-2 for the first time as direct target of miR-148a-3p in EAC. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that specific microRNA profiles of chemotherapy resistant EAC in fact determine their response to chemotherapy and biological behavior. Our data further show that microRNA-mediated regulation of chemotherapy resistance is complex, and several microRNAs seem to “co-operate” at various steps within a broad number of pathways what fits very well to our recently proposed understanding of microRNA-mediated regulation as function of cellular functional complexes. These data highlight the promising potential of microRNAs to predict or monitor treatment response to chemotherapy in EAC, and to potentially modulate tumor biology in a therapeutic approach.