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Eur J Cancer. 2011 Nov;47(16):2479-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.06.041. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

MicroRNA-21 suppression impedes medulloblastoma cell migration.

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  • 1Oncology Department, University Children's Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.


Medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant brain tumour in children, is characterised by a high risk of leptomeningeal dissemination. But little is known about the molecular mechanisms that promote cancer cell migration in MB. Aberrant expression of miR-21 is recognised to be causatively linked to metastasis in a variety of human neoplasms including brain tumours; however its function in MB is still unknown. In this study we investigated the expression level and the role of miR-21 in MB cell migration. miR-21 was found to be up-regulated, compared to normal cerebellum, in 29/29 MB primary samples and 6/6 MB-derived cell lines. Inverse correlation was observed between miR-21 expression and the metastasis suppressor PDCD4, while miR-21 repression increased the release of PDCD4 protein, suggesting negative regulation of PDCD4 by miR-21 in MB cells. Anti-miR-21 decreased protein expression of the tumour cell invasion mediators MAP4K1 and JNK, which are also known to be negatively regulated by PDCD4, and down-regulated integrin protein that is essential for MB leptomeningeal dissemination. Moreover miR-21 knockdown in MB cells increased the expression of two eminent negative modulators of cancer cell migration, E-Cadherin and TIMP2 proteins that are known to be positively regulated by PDCD4. Finally and importantly, suppression of miR-21 decreased the motility of MB cells and reduced their migration across basement membranes in vitro. Together, these compelling data propose miR-21 pathway as a novel mechanism impacting MB cell dissemination and raises the possibility that curability of selected MB may be improved by pharmaceutical strategies directed towards microRNA-21.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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