The only first-line treatment approved for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is sorafenib. Since many patients experience drug resistance, the discovery of more effective therapeutic strategies represents an unmet clinical need. MicroRNA (MiR)-122 is downregulated in most HCCs, while oncogenic SerpinB3 is upregulated. Here, we assessed the relationship between miR-122 and SerpinB3 and their influence on cell phenotype and sorafenib resistance in HCC. A bioinformatics analysis identified SerpinB3 among hypothetical miR-122 targets. In SerpinB3-overexpressing HepG2 cells, miR-122 transfection decreased SerpinB3 mRNA and protein levels, whereas miR-122 inhibition increased SerpinB3 expression. Luciferase assay demonstrated the interaction between miR-122 and SerpinB3 mRNA. In an HCC rat model, high miR-122 levels were associated with negative SerpinB3 expression, while low miR-122 levels correlated with SerpinB3 positivity. A negative correlation between miR-122 and SerpinB3 or stem cell markers was found in HCC patients. Anti-miR-122 transfection increased cell viability in sorafenib-treated Huh-7 cells, while miR-122 overexpression increased sorafenib sensitivity in treated cells, but not in those overexpressing SerpinB3. In conclusion, we demonstrated that miR-122 targets SerpinB3, and its low levels are associated with SerpinB3 positivity and a stem-like phenotype in HCC. MiR-122 replacement therapy in combination with sorafenib deserves attention as a possible therapeutic strategy in SerpinB3-negative HCCs.

MiR-122 targets serpinB3 and is involved in sorafenib resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma

Fornari F.
;
Pollutri D.;Bolondi L.;Gramantieri L.;
2019

Abstract

The only first-line treatment approved for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is sorafenib. Since many patients experience drug resistance, the discovery of more effective therapeutic strategies represents an unmet clinical need. MicroRNA (MiR)-122 is downregulated in most HCCs, while oncogenic SerpinB3 is upregulated. Here, we assessed the relationship between miR-122 and SerpinB3 and their influence on cell phenotype and sorafenib resistance in HCC. A bioinformatics analysis identified SerpinB3 among hypothetical miR-122 targets. In SerpinB3-overexpressing HepG2 cells, miR-122 transfection decreased SerpinB3 mRNA and protein levels, whereas miR-122 inhibition increased SerpinB3 expression. Luciferase assay demonstrated the interaction between miR-122 and SerpinB3 mRNA. In an HCC rat model, high miR-122 levels were associated with negative SerpinB3 expression, while low miR-122 levels correlated with SerpinB3 positivity. A negative correlation between miR-122 and SerpinB3 or stem cell markers was found in HCC patients. Anti-miR-122 transfection increased cell viability in sorafenib-treated Huh-7 cells, while miR-122 overexpression increased sorafenib sensitivity in treated cells, but not in those overexpressing SerpinB3. In conclusion, we demonstrated that miR-122 targets SerpinB3, and its low levels are associated with SerpinB3 positivity and a stem-like phenotype in HCC. MiR-122 replacement therapy in combination with sorafenib deserves attention as a possible therapeutic strategy in SerpinB3-negative HCCs.
Turato C.; Fornari F.; Pollutri D.; Fassan M.; Quarta S.; Villano G.; Ruvoletto M.; Bolondi L.; Gramantieri L.; Pontisso P.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/833914
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