• KRAS induces lung tumorigenesis through microRNAs modulation.

      Shi, Lei; Middleton, J; Jeon, Y; Magee, Peter; Veneziano, D; Laganà, A; Leong, Hui Sun; Sahoo, Sudhakar; Fassan, M; Booton, R; et al. (2018-02-13)
      Oncogenic KRAS induces tumor onset and development by modulating gene expression via different molecular mechanisms. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that have been established as main players in tumorigenesis. By overexpressing wild type or mutant KRAS (KRASG12D) and using inducible human and mouse cell lines, we analyzed KRAS-regulated microRNAs in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We show that miR-30c and miR-21 are significantly upregulated by both KRAS isoforms and induce drug resistance and enhance cell migration/invasion via inhibiting crucial tumor suppressor genes, such as NF1, RASA1, BID, and RASSF8. MiR-30c and miR-21 levels were significantly elevated in tumors from patients that underwent surgical resection of early stages NSCLC compared to normal lung and in plasma from the same patients. Systemic delivery of LNA-anti-miR-21 in combination with cisplatin in vivo completely suppressed the development of lung tumors in a mouse model of lung cancer. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that ELK1 is responsible for miR-30c and miR-21 transcriptional activation by direct binding to the miRNA proximal promoter regions. In summary, our study defines that miR-30c and miR-21 may be valid biomarkers for early NSCLC detection and their silencing could be beneficial for therapeutic applications.
    • MicroRNA-148a reduces tumorigenesis and increases TRAIL-induced apoptosis in NSCLC.

      Joshi, P; Jeon, Y; Laganà, A; Middleton, J; Secchiero, P; Garofalo, Michela; Croce, C; Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2015-07-14)
      Nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has been shown to induce apoptosis in malignant cells without inducing significant toxicity in normal cells. However, several carcinomas, including lung cancer, remain resistant to TRAIL. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs of ∼24 nt that block mRNA translation and/or negatively regulate its stability. They are often aberrantly expressed in cancer and have been implicated in increasing susceptibility or resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by inhibiting key functional proteins. Here we show that miR-148a is down-regulated in cells with acquired TRAIL-resistance compared with TRAIL-sensitive cells. Enforced expression of miR-148a sensitized cells to TRAIL and reduced lung tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo through the down-modulation of matrix metalloproteinase 15 (MMP15) and Rho-associated kinase 1 (ROCK1). These findings suggest that miR-148a acts as a tumor suppressor and might have therapeutic application in the treatment of NSCLC.
    • A set of NF-κB-regulated microRNAs induces acquired TRAIL resistance in lung cancer.

      Jeon, Y; Middleton, J; Kim, T; Laganà, A; Piovan, C; Secchiero, P; Nuovo, G; Cui, R; Joshi, P; Romano, G; et al. (2015-06-30)
      TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) is a promising anticancer agent that can be potentially used as an alternative or complementary therapy because of its specific antitumor activity. However, TRAIL can also stimulate the proliferation of cancer cells through the activation of NF-κB, but the exact mechanism is still poorly understood. In this study, we show that chronic exposure to subtoxic concentrations of TRAIL results in acquired resistance. This resistance is associated with the increase in miR-21, miR-30c, and miR-100 expression, which target tumor-suppressor genes fundamental in the response to TRAIL. Importantly, down-regulation of caspase-8 by miR-21 blocks receptor interacting protein-1 cleavage and induces the activation of NF-κB, which regulates these miRNAs. Thus, TRAIL activates a positive feedback loop that sustains the acquired resistance and causes an aggressive phenotype. Finally, we prove that combinatory treatment of NF-κB inhibitors and TRAIL is able to revert resistance and reduce tumor growth, with important consequences for the clinical practice.