miR-34c may protect lung cancer cells from paclitaxel-induced apoptosis

Oncogene. 2013 Jan 17;32(3):341-51. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.51. Epub 2012 Feb 27.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate the expression of their target genes. They are involved in many biological processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation, and are considered as promising new therapeutic targets for cancer. However, the identity of miRNAs involved in apoptosis and their respective targets remain largely unknown. Given the elevated complexity of miRNA regulation of gene expression, we performed a functional screening as an alternative strategy to identify those miRNAs that in lung cancer cells may interfere with the apoptotic process. To this aim, we generated a derivative of the non-small cell lung carcinoma A549 cell line in which caspase-8, a critical upstream initiator of apoptosis, can be activated by administration of the small dimerizer drug AP20187. We found a number of miRNAs that may rescue cell viability from caspase-8 activation. They included miRNAs already described as oncogenic such as miR-17, miR-135 and miR-520, but also some miRNAs such as miR-124-1 and miR-34c for which a tumor-suppressive role has instead been described or expected. Among them, miR-34c-5p markedly increased resistance to paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. We demonstrate that Bmf (Bcl-2-modifying factor) is a target of miR-34c-5p, and that its silencing, together with that of c-myc, a known target of miR-34c-5p, contributes to resistance to apoptosis induced by paclitaxel through p53 downregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Caspase 8 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MIRN34 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Caspase 8
  • Paclitaxel