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Oncogene. 2014 Jul 24;33(30):4003-15. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.398. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Impaired DICER1 function promotes stemness and metastasis in colon cancer.

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Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC), Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain.
Laboratory of Translational Research, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain.
1] Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC), Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain [2] Department of Physiological Sciences II, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain [3] Institucio Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain.


Disruption of microRNA (miRNA) expression patterns is now being recognized as a hallmark of human cancer. The causes of these altered profiles are diverse, and, among them, we found the existence of defects in the miRNA processing machinery. However, little is known about how these alterations affect the biology of the underlying tumors. Herein, we show that colorectal cancer cells with an impairment in DICER1, a major miRNA biogenesis gene, undergo enrichment of tumor stemness features and an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. These phenotypes are associated with the downregulation of miRNAs, such as miR-34a, miR-126 and those of the miR-200 family, that target critical coding genes in these pathways. Most importantly, DICER1 impairment also induces the acquisition of a greater capacity for tumor initiation and metastasis, two properties associated with cancer stem cells.

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