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Oncotarget. 2018 Dec 28;9(102):37616-37626. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.26331. eCollection 2018 Dec 28.

piRNA-8041 is downregulated in human glioblastoma and suppresses tumor growth in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
Current address: Division of Genetic and Molecular Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, AR, USA.
Current Address: Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that partner with PIWI proteins to protect germline tissues from destabilizing transposon activity. While the aberrant expression of PIWI proteins has been linked with poor outcomes for many cancers, less is known about the expression or function of piRNAs in cancer. We performed array-based piRNA expression profiling in seven pairs of normal brain and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tissue specimens, and identified expression of ~350 piRNAs in both tissues and a subset with dysregulated expression in GBM. Over-expression of the most down-regulated piRNA in GBM tissue, piR-8041, was found to reduce glioma cell line proliferation, induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, and inhibit cell survival pathways. Furthermore, pre-treatment with piR-8041 significantly reduced the volume of intracranial mouse xenograft tumors. Taken together, our study reveals reduced expression in GBM of piR-8041 and other piRNAs with tumor suppressive properties, and suggests that restoration of such piRNAs may be a potential strategy for GBM therapy.


GBM; PIWI-interacting RNA; glioma; piRNA

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exists.

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