miR-3656 expression enhances the chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer to gemcitabine through modulation of the RHOF/EMT axis
The highly refractory nature of pancreatic cancer (PC) to chemotherapeutic drugs is one of the key reasons contributing to the poor prognosis of this disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators of gene expression and have been implicated in a variety of processes from cancer development through to drug resistance. Herein, through miRNA profiling of gemcitabine-resistant (GR) and parental PANC-1 cell lines, we found a consistent reduction of miR-3656 in GR PANC-1 cells. miR-3656 overexpression enhanced the antitumor effect of gemcitabine, whereas silencing of miR-3656 resulted in the opposite effect. By performing mechanistic studies using both in vitro and in vivo models, we found that miR-3656 could target RHOF, a member of the Rho subfamily of small GTPases, and regulate the EMT process. Moreover, enforced EMT progression via TWIST1 overexpression compromised the chemotherapy-enhancing effects of miR-3656. Finally, we found significantly lower levels of miR-3656 and higher levels of RHOF in PC tissues compared with adjacent noncancerous pancreatic tissues, and this was also associated with poor PC patients’ prognosis. Taken together, our results suggest that the miR-3656/RHOF/EMT axis is an important factor involved in regulating GR in PC, and highlights the potential of novel miR-3656-based clinical modalities as a therapeutic approach in PC patients.
Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/cddis2017530