microRNA-128 plays a critical role in human non-small cell lung cancer tumourigenesis, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis by directly targeting vascular endothelial growth factor-C

Jing Hu, Yongxia Cheng, Yuezhen Li, Zaishun Jin, Yanming Pan, Guibo Liu, Songbin Fu, Yafang Zhang, Kejian Feng, Yukuan Feng
European Journal of Cancer 2014, 50 (13): 2336-50
Recent studies have indicated that microRNAs (miRNAs) are important gene regulators that play critical roles in biological processes and function as either tumour suppressors or oncogenes. Therefore, the expression levels of miRNAs can be important and reliable biomarkers for cancer detection and prognostic prediction, and potentially serve as targets for cancer therapy. In this study, we showed that the expression level of miR-128 was significantly downregulated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tissues and cancer cells, and was significantly correlated with NSCLC differentiation, pathological stage and lymph node metastasis. Ectopic miR-128 overexpression significantly suppressed in vitro proliferation, colony formation, immigration and invasion, and induced G1 arrest and apoptosis of NSCLC cells. Interestingly, ectopic miR-128 overexpression could significantly inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C expression and reduce the activity of a luciferase reporter containing the VEGF-C 3'-untranslated region. In addition, overexpression of miR-128 in NSCLC cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cells led to decreased expression of VEGF-A, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2 and VEGFR-3, critical factors responsible for cancer angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, and subsequently decreased phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (AKT) and p38 signalling pathways. Furthermore, in vivo restoration of miR-128 significantly suppressed tumourigenicity of A549 cells in nude mice and inhibited both angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis of tumour xenografts. These findings suggest that miR-128 could play a role in NSCLC tumourigenesis at least in part by modulation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis through targeting VEGF-C, and could simultaneously block ERK, AKT and p38 signalling pathways. Therapeutic strategies to restore miR-128 in NSCLC could be useful to inhibit tumour progression.

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