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Int J Cancer. 2018 May 15;142(10):2080-2093. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31235. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Survivin is a novel transcription regulator of KIT and is downregulated by miRNA-494 in gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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Department of Pathology and Brain Korea 21 PLUS Projects for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Germany and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Sarcoma Center, West German Cancer Center, University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Heidelberg, Germany.


Gain-of-function mutations of KIT are pathognomonic in sporadic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). Several microRNAs have been shown to be dysregulated in GISTs and impact KIT expression. Little is known though on KIT-independent targets of KIT-regulating mRNAs. We sought to investigate how miR-494 inhibits GIST proliferation and to identify novel target gene. We used microarray-based gene expression analyses to identify pathways and target genes affected by miR-494. The expressional relationship between survivin and miR-494 was determined in 35 GIST tissues. Cell proliferation assay, FACS analysis, colony formation assay, promoter assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChiP) were performed to clarify the roles of survivin in GIST progression. Gene expression microarray analysis revealed that miR-494 inhibited GISTs by affecting multiple genes in the cell cycle pathway. Survivin (BIRC5) was a key target of miR-494, and its expression showed an inverse correlation with miR-494 expression in 35 GIST tissues (Pearson's correlation coefficient, r = -0.418, p = 0.012). Downregulation of survivin inhibited proliferation and colony formation, and resulted in cell cycle alteration. Induced survivin overexpression relieved miR-494-mediated inhibition of GIST progression. Targeting PI3K effectively suppressed proliferation of GISTs with downregulation of survivin. Survivin also regulated KIT expression at the transcription level. Immunohistochemical analysis using 113 GISTs revealed that survivin expression was significantly correlated with overall survival of GIST patients (p = 0.004). Our findings indicated that miR-494 synergistically suppressed GISTs by concomitantly targeting survivin and KIT.


KIT; gastrointestinal stromal tumor; miR-494; survivin; vertical blockade

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