Tumour invasion and metastasis initiated by microRNA-10b in breast cancer

Nature. 2007 Oct 11;449(7163):682-8. doi: 10.1038/nature06174. Epub 2007 Sep 26.


MicroRNAs have been implicated in regulating diverse cellular pathways. Although there is emerging evidence that some microRNAs can function as oncogenes or tumour suppressors, the role of microRNAs in mediating cancer metastasis remains unexplored. Here we show, using a combination of mouse and human cells, that microRNA-10b (miR-10b) is highly expressed in metastatic breast cancer cells and positively regulates cell migration and invasion. Overexpression of miR-10b in otherwise non-metastatic breast tumours initiates robust invasion and metastasis. Expression of miR-10b is induced by the transcription factor Twist, which binds directly to the putative promoter of mir-10b (MIRN10B). The miR-10b induced by Twist proceeds to inhibit translation of the messenger RNA encoding homeobox D10, resulting in increased expression of a well-characterized pro-metastatic gene, RHOC. Significantly, the level of miR-10b expression in primary breast carcinomas correlates with clinical progression. These findings suggest the workings of an undescribed regulatory pathway, in which a pleiotropic transcription factor induces expression of a specific microRNA, which suppresses its direct target and in turn activates another pro-metastatic gene, leading to tumour cell invasion and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • rhoC GTP-Binding Protein


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hoxd10 protein, mouse
  • MIRN10 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcription Factors
  • Twist-Related Protein 1
  • HOXD10 protein, human
  • RHOC protein, human
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rhoC GTP-Binding Protein