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Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 15;71(2):583-92. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2587. Epub 2011 Jan 11.

MicroRNA-616 induces androgen-independent growth of prostate cancer cells by suppressing expression of tissue factor pathway inhibitor TFPI-2.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


Expression of microRNA genes is profoundly altered in cancer but their role in the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer has received limited attention as yet. In this study, we report a functional impact in prostate cancer cells for overexpression of the microRNA miR-616, which occurred consistently in cells that were androgen-independent (AI) versus androgen-dependent (AD). miR-616 overexpression was confirmed in malignant prostate tissues as opposed to benign prostate specimens. Stable miR-616 overexpression in LNCaP cells by a lentiviral-based approach stimulated AI prostate cancer cell proliferation in vitro whereas concomitantly reducing androgen-induced cell growth. More importantly, miR-616 overexpressing LNCaP cells overcame castration resistance as shown by an enhanced ability to proliferate in vivo after bilateral orchiectomy. Conversely, antagonizing miR-616 in AI prostate cancer cells yielded opposite effects. Microarray profiling and bioinformatics analysis identified the tissue factor pathway inhibitor TFPI-2 mRNA as a candidate downstream target of miR-616. In support of this candidacy, we documented interactions between miR-616 and the 3'UTR of TFPI-2 and determined TFPI-2 expression to be inversely correlated to miR-616 in a series of prostate cell lines and clinical specimens. Notably, reexpression of TFPI-2 in LNCaP cells with stable miR-616 overexpression rescued the AD phenotype, as shown by a restoration of androgen dependence and cell growth inhibition. Taken together, our findings define a functional involvement for miR-616 and TFPI-2 in the development and maintenance of androgen-independent prostate cancer.

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