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Oncotarget. 2016 Feb 23;7(8):9368-87. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.7010.

miR-143 or miR-145 overexpression increases cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in human colon cancer cells.

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Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.


miR-143 and miR-145 are downregulated in colon cancer. Here, we tested the effect of restoring these miRNAs on sensitization to cetuximab in mutant KRAS (HCT116 and SW480) and wild-type KRAS (SW48) colon cancer cells. We evaluated cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and the modulation of signaling pathways involved in immune effector cell-mediated elimination of cancer cells. Stable miR-143 or miR-145 overexpression increased cell sensitivity to cetuximab, resulting in a significant increase of cetuximab-mediated ADCC independently of KRAS status. Importantly, HCT116 cells overexpressing these miRNAs triggered apoptosis in result of cetuximab-mediated ADCC, effected by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (p < 0.01). This was associated with increased apoptosis and caspase-3/7 activity, and reduced Bcl-2 protein expression (p < 0.01). In addition, caspase inhibition abrogated cetuximab-mediated ADCC in HCT116 cells overexpressing either miR-143 or miR-145 (p < 0.01). Furthermore, Bcl-2 silencing led to high level of cetuximab-mediated ADCC, compared to control siRNA (p < 0.05). Importantly, granzyme B inhibition, abrogated cetuximab-mediated ADCC, reducing caspase-3/7 activity (p < 0.01). Collectively, our data suggests that re-introduction of miR-143 or miR-145 may provide a new approach for development of therapeutic strategies to re-sensitize colon cancer cells to cetuximab by stimulating cetuximab-dependent ADCC to induce cell death.


ADCC; cetuximab; granzyme B; miR-143; miR-145

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