Cancer research

miR-181a-5p Inhibits Cancer Cell Migration and Angiogenesis via Downregulation of Matrix Metalloproteinase-14.

PMID 25977338


Upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase MMP-14 (MT1-MMP) is associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients, but it is unclear how MMP-14 becomes elevated in tumors. Here, we show that miR-181a-5p is downregulated in aggressive human breast and colon cancers where its levels correlate inversely with MMP-14 expression. In clinical specimens, enhanced expression of MMP-14 was observed in cancer cells located at the invasive front of tumors where miR-181a-5p was downregulated relative to adjacent normal cells. Bioinformatics analyses defined a potential miR-181a-5p response element within the 3'-untranslated region of MMP-14 that was validated in reporter gene experiments. Ectopic miR-181a-5p reduced MMP-14 expression, whereas miR-181a-5p attenuation elevated MMP-14 expression. In support of a critical relationship between these two genes, miR-181a-5p-mediated reduction of MMP-14 levels was sufficient to decrease cancer cell migration, invasion, and activation of pro-MMP-2. Furthermore, this reduction in MMP-14 levels was sufficient to reduce in vivo invasion and angiogenesis in chick chorioallantoic membrane assays. Taken together, our results establish the regulation of MMP-14 in cancers by miR-181a-5p through a posttranscriptional mechanism, and they further suggest strategies to elevate miR-181a-5p to prevent cancer metastasis.