microRNA (miRNA) dysregulation contributes widely to human cancer but has not been fully assessed in oral cancers. In this study, we conducted a global microarray analysis of miRNA expression in 40 pairs of betel quid-associated oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) specimens and their matched nontumorous epithelial counterparts. Eighty-four miRNAs were differentially expressed in the OSCC specimens compared with the matched tissue. Among these downregulated miRNAs, 19 miRNAs were found and mapped to the chromosome 14q32.2 miRNA cluster region, which resides within a parentally imprinted region designated as Dlk-Dio3 and known to be important in development and growth. Bioinformatic analysis predicted two miRNAs from the cluster region, miR329 and miR410, which could potentially target Wnt-7b, an activator of the Wnt-β-catenin pathway, thereby attenuating the Wnt-β-catenin signaling pathway in OSCC. Stable ectopic expression of Wnt-7b in OSCC cells overexpressing miR329 or miR410 restored proliferation and invasion capabilities abolished by these miRNA. Combining a demethylation agent and a histone deacetylase inhibitor was sufficient to reexpress miR329, miR410, and Meg3, consistent with epigenetic regulation of these miRNA in human OSCC. Specifically, arecoline, a major betel nut alkaloid, reduced miR329, miR410, and Meg3 gene expression. Overall, our results provide novel molecular insights into how betel quid contributes to oral carcinogenesis through epigenetic silencing of tumor-suppressor miRNA that targets Wnt-β-catenin signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research