Purpose. This study aims to evaluate the prognostic value of human Mitotic Centromere-Associated Kinesin (MCAK), a microtubule-dependent molecular motor, in breast cancers. The posttranscriptional regulation of MCAK by microRNAs will also be explored. Methods. The large-scale gene expression datasets of breast cancer (total n=4,677) were obtained from GEO, NKI, and TCGA database. Kaplan-Meier and Cox analyses were used for survival analysis. MicroRNAs targeting MCAK were predicted by bioinformatic analysis and validated by a dual-luciferase reporter assay. Results. The expression of MCAK was significantly associated with aggressive features of breast cancer, including tumor stage, Elston grade, and molecular subtypes, for global gene expression datasets of breast cancer (p<0.05). Overexpression of MCAK was significantly associated with poor outcome in a dose-dependent manner for either ER-positive or ER-negative breast cancer. Evidence from bioinformatic prediction, coexpression assays, and gene set enrichment analyses suggested that miR-485-5p and miR-181c might target MCAK and suppress its expression. A 3'UTR dual-luciferase target reporter assay demonstrated that miR-485-5p and miR-181c mimics specifically inhibited relative Firefly/Renilla luciferase activity by about 50% in corresponding reporter plasmids. Further survival analysis also revealed that miR-485-5p (HR=0.59, 95% CI 0.37-0.92) and miR-181c (HR=0.54, 95% CI 0.34-0.84) played opposite roles of MCAK (HR=2.80, 95% CI 1.77-4.57) and were significantly associated with better outcome in breast cancers. Conclusion. MCAK could serve as a prognostic biomarker for breast cancers. miR-485-5p and miR-181c could specifically target and suppress the MCAK gene expression in breast cancer cells.
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