Send to

Choose Destination
Oncogene. 2015 Jul;34(28):3676-87. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.298. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Progesterone downregulation of miR-141 contributes to expansion of stem-like breast cancer cells through maintenance of progesterone receptor and Stat5a.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.


Progesterone (P4) has emerged as an important hormone-regulating mammary stem cell (MaSC) populations. In breast cancer, P4 and synthetic analogs increase the number of stem-like cells within luminal estrogen receptor (ER)- and progesterone receptor (PR)-positive breast cancers. These cells gain expression of de-differentiated cell markers CD44 and cytokeratin 5 (CK5), lose luminal markers ER and PR, and are more therapy resistant. We previously described that P4 downregulation of microRNA (miR)-29a contributes to the expansion of CD44(high) and CK5(+) cells. Here we investigated P4 downregulation of miR-141, a member of the miR-200 family of tumor suppressors, in facilitating an increase in stem-like breast cancer cells. miR-141 was the sole member of the miR-200 family P4-downregulated at the mature miRNA level in luminal breast cancer cell lines. Stable inhibition of miR-141 alone increased the CD44(high) population, and potentiated P4-mediated increases in both CD44(high) and CK5(+) cells. Loss of miR-141 enhanced both mammosphere formation and tumor initiation. miR-141 directly targeted both PR and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5A (Stat5a), transcription factors important for MaSC expansion. miR-141 depletion increased PR protein levels, even in cell lines where PR expression is estrogen dependent. Stat5a suppression via small interfering RNA or a small-molecule inhibitor reduced the P4-dependent increase in CK5(+) and CD44(high) cells. These data support a mechanism by which P4-triggered loss of miR-141 facilitates breast cancer cell de-differentiation through deregulation of PR and Stat5a, two transcription factors important for controlling mammary cell fate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center