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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Feb 15;16(4):1119-28. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2642. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Frequent downregulation of miR-34 family in human ovarian cancers.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-6401, USA.



The miR-34 family is directly transactivated by tumor suppressor p53, which is frequently mutated in human epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). We hypothesized that miR-34 expression would be decreased in EOC and that reconstituted miR-34 expression might reduce cell proliferation and invasion of EOC cells.


miR-34 expression was determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and in situ hybridization in a panel of 83 human EOC samples. Functional characterization of miR-34 was accomplished by reconstitution of miR-34 expression in EOC cells with synthetic pre-miR molecules followed by determining changes in proliferation, apoptosis, and invasion.


miR-34a expression is decreased in 100%, and miR-34b*/c in 72%, of EOC with p53 mutation, whereas miR-34a is also downregulated in 93% of tumors with wild-type p53. Furthermore, expression of miR-34b*/c is significantly reduced in stage IV tumors compared with stage III (P = 0.0171 and P = 0.0029, respectively). Additionally, we observed promoter methylation and copy number variations at mir-34. In situ hybridization showed that miR-34a expression is inversely correlated with MET immunohistochemical staining, consistent with translational inhibition by miR-34a. Finally, miR-34 reconstitution experiments in p53 mutant EOC cells resulted in reduced proliferation, motility, and invasion, the latter of which was dependent on MET expression.


Our work suggests that miR-34 family plays an important role in EOC pathogenesis and reduced expression of miR-34b*/c may be particularly important for progression to the most advanced stages. Part of miR-34 effects on motility and invasion may be explained by regulation of MET, which is frequently overexpressed in EOC.

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