MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in tumorigenesis by regulating oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes. In this study, miR-187 and miR-200a were found to be expressed at higher levels in ovarian cancers than in benign tumors. In patients with ovarian cancer, however, higher levels of miR-187 and miR-200a expression were paradoxically associated with better OS and recurrence-free survival. Further, multivariate analysis showed that miR-187 served as an independent prognostic factor for patients with ovarian cancer (n176). Computational prediction and microarray results indicated that miR-187 directly targeted Disabled homolog-2 (Dab2), and luciferase reporter assays confirmed that the target site of miR-187 was located at the 3′-UTR of the Dab2 gene. Generally considered as a tumor-suppressor gene, Dab2 may actually promote tumor progression in advanced cancers through epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Ectopic expression of miR-187 in cancer cells promoted cell proliferation, but continued overexpression of miR-187 suppressed Dab2 and inhibited migration. Suppression of miR-187 upregulated Dab2, which, by inhibiting E-cadherin levels while stimulating vimentin and phospho-FAK levels, promoted EMT. Reduced ovarian cancer Dab2 histoscores correlated with high miR-187 levels and improved outcomes of patients. Collectively, these results demonstrate distinct dual roles of Dab2 in cell proliferation and tumor progression. In the initial steps of tumorigenesis, upregulated miR-187 suppresses Dab2, promoting cell proliferation. During the later stages, however, continued increased levels of miR-187 inhibits the Dab2-dependent EMT that is associated with tumor invasiveness, which is presumed to be the reason why cancers with high miR-187 levels were associated with better survivals.
- epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research