British journal of cancer

Epigenetic silencing of miRNA-9 is associated with HES1 oncogenic activity and poor prognosis of medulloblastoma.

PMID 24346283


microRNA-9 is a key regulator of neuronal development aberrantly expressed in brain malignancies, including medulloblastoma. The mechanisms by which microRNA-9 contributes to medulloblastoma pathogenesis remain unclear, and factors that regulate this process have not been delineated. Expression and methylation status of microRNA-9 in medulloblastoma cell lines and primary samples were analysed. The association of microRNA-9 expression with medulloblastoma patients' clinical outcome was assessed, and the impact of microRNA-9 restoration was functionally validated in medulloblastoma cells. microRNA-9 expression is repressed in a large subset of MB samples compared with normal fetal cerebellum. Low microRNA-9 expression correlates significantly with the diagnosis of unfavourable histopathological variants and with poor clinical outcome. microRNA-9 silencing occurs via cancer-specific CpG island hypermethylation. HES1 was identified as a direct target of microRNA-9 in medulloblastoma, and restoration of microRNA-9 was shown to trigger cell cycle arrest, to inhibit clonal growth and to promote medulloblastoma cell differentiation. microRNA-9 is a methylation-silenced tumour suppressor that could be a potential candidate predictive marker for poor prognosis of medulloblastoma. Loss of microRNA-9 may confer a proliferative advantage to tumour cells, and it could possibly contribute to disease pathogenesis. Thus, re-expression of microRNA-9 may constitute a novel epigenetic regulation strategy against medulloblastoma.