The microRNAs miR-373 and miR-520c promote tumour invasion and metastasis

Nat Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;10(2):202-10. doi: 10.1038/ncb1681. Epub 2008 Jan 13.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded, noncoding RNAs that are important in many biological processes. Although the oncogenic and tumour-suppressive functions of several miRNAs have been characterized, the role of miRNAs in mediating tumour metastasis was addressed only recently and still remains largely unexplored. To identify potential metastasis-promoting miRNAs, we set up a genetic screen using a non-metastatic, human breast tumour cell line that was transduced with a miRNA-expression library and subjected to a trans-well migration assay. We found that human miR-373 and miR-520c stimulated cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo, and that certain cancer cell lines depend on endogenous miR-373 activity to migrate efficiently. Mechanistically, the migration phenotype of miR-373 and miR-520c can be explained by suppression of CD44. We found significant upregulation of miR-373 in clinical breast cancer metastasis samples that correlated inversely with CD44 expression. Taken together, our findings indicate that miRNAs are involved in tumour migration and invasion, and implicate miR-373 and miR-520c as metastasis-promoting miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Migration Assays
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / genetics
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • MicroRNAs