BMC cancer

Expression and role of oncogenic miRNA-224 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

PMID 26245343


Aberrant expression of miR-224 is associated with tumor development and progression. This study investigated the role of miR-224 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) ex vivo and in vitro. A total of 103 esophageal intraepithelial neoplasia, ESCC tissue specimens, and their matched distant normal tissues were collected to test miR-224 expression using qRT-PCR analysis. Western blot was used to quantify the level of PH domain leucine-rich repeat protein phosphatase 1 (PHLPP1) and PHLPP2 in ESCC tissues. Cell viability, apoptosis, invasion, and colony formation assays were used to assess the altered phenotypes of esophageal cancer cell lines after miR-224 expression or inhibition. A luciferase reporter assay was used to confirm miR-224 binding to PHLPP1 and PHLPP2 mRNA. miR-224 was significantly overexpressed in esophageal intraepithelial neoplasia and ESCC tissues, while the expression of PHLPP1 and PHLPP2 proteins, the target genes of miR-224, was downregulated in ESCC tissues. miR-224 expression was associated with advanced clinical TNM stage, pathologic grade, and the level of PHLPP1 and PHLPP2 proteins in ESCC tissues. Ectopic overexpression of miR-224 promoted proliferation, migration, and invasion, but suppressed apoptosis of ESCC cells. miR-224 was able to bind to the 3' untranslated region (3'-UTR) of PHLPP1 and PHLPP2 mRNA to suppress their expression. The current study demonstrated that miR-224 acts as an oncogenic miRNA in ESCC, possibly by targeting PHLPP1 and PHLPP2.

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