ABSTRACT: Metastasis is a major clinical obstacle in the treatment of gastric cancer (GC) and it accounts for the majority of cancer-related mortality. MicroRNAs have recently emerged as regulators of metastasis by acting on multiple signaling pathways. In this study, we found that miR-7 is significantly downregulated in highly metastatic GC cell lines and metastatic tissues. Both gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments showed that increased miR-7 expression significantly reduced GC cell migration and invasion, whereas decreased miR-7 expression dramatically enhanced cell migration and invasion. In vivo metastasis assays also demonstrated that overexpression of miR-7 markedly inhibited GC metastasis. Moreover, the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) oncogene, which is often mutated or amplified in human cancers and functions as an important regulator of cell growth and tumor invasion, was identified as a direct target of miR-7. Silencing of IGF1R using small interefering RNA (siRNA) recapitulated the anti-metastatic function of miR-7, whereas restoring the IGF1R expression attenuated the function of miR-7 in GC cells. Furthermore, we found that suppression of Snail by miR-7, through targeting IGF1R, increased E-cadherin expression and partially reversed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Finally, analyses of miR-7 and IGF1R levels in human primary GC with matched lymph node metastasis tissue arrays revealed that miR-7 is inversely correlated with IGF1R expression. The present study provides insight into the specific biological behavior of miR-7 in EMT and tumor metastasis. Targeting this novel miR-7/IGF1R/Snail axis would be helpful as a therapeutic approach to block GC metastasis.Oncogene advance online publication, 21 May 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.156.
Oncogene 05/2012; · 6.37 Impact Factor