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Cancer Res. 2011 Oct 15;71(20):6450-62. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-0364. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

miR-152 is a tumor suppressor microRNA that is silenced by DNA hypermethylation in endometrial cancer.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Medical Research Institute and School of Biomedical Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


The etiology and development of human cancers that remain little understood might be enlightened by defining tumor suppressor microRNAs (TS-miRNA). In this study, we identified TS-miRNAs silenced by aberrant DNA hypermethylation in endometrial cancer. Functional screening of 327 synthetic miRNAs in an endometrial cancer cell proliferation assay identified 103 miRNAs that inhibited cell growth. We then determined the sequence, DNA methylation status, and expression levels of these miRNAs in endometrial cancer cell lines and primary tumors. These determinations led to the identification of miR-152 as a candidate TS-miRNA gene in endometrial cancer. Epigenetic silencing documented in miR-152 was consistent with its location at 17q21.32 in intron 1 of the COPZ2 gene, which is also silenced often in endometrial cancer by DNA hypermethylation, and also with evidence that miR-152 targets the DNA methyltransferase DNMT1. Notably, restoration of miR-152 expression in endometrial cancer cell lines was sufficient to inhibit tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. We identified E2F3, MET, and Rictor as novel candidate targets of miR-152, suggesting how its epigenetic silencing can drive endometrial carcinogenesis. Our findings define a central role for miR-152 in endometrial cancer, and they also suggest its use in new therapeutic strategies to treat this cancer.

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