Lipid-based nanoparticle delivery of Pre-miR-107 inhibits the tumorigenicity of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Mol Ther. 2012 Jun;20(6):1261-9. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.67. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most prevalent cancer worldwide with about 600,000 new cases diagnosed in the last year. Our laboratory showed that miR-107 expression is reduced and functions as a tumor suppressor gene in HNSCC suggesting the potential application of miR-107 as a novel anticancer therapeutic. In this study, we determined the efficiency and efficacy of cationic lipid nanoparticles to deliver pre-miR-107 (NP/pre-miR-107) in HNSCC cells in vitro and in vivo. NP/pre-miR-107 increased delivery of miR-107 into HNSCC cells by greater than 80,000-fold compared to free pre-miR-107. Levels of known miR-107 targets, protein kinase Cε (PKCε), cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6), and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-β (HIF1-β), decreased following NP/pre-miR-107 treatment. Clonogenic survival, cell invasion, and cell migration of HNSCC cells was inhibited with NP/pre-miR-107. Moreover, NP/pre-miR-107 reduced the cancer-initiating cell (CIC) population and dampened the expression of the core embryonic stem cell transcription factors, Nanog, Oct3/4, and Sox2. In a preclinical mouse model of HNSCC, systemic administration of NP/pre-miR-107 significantly retarded tumor growth by 45.2% compared to NP/pre-miR-control (P < 0.005, n = 7). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a survival advantage for the NP/pre-miR-107 treatment group (P = 0.017). Our results demonstrate that cationic lipid nanoparticles are an effective carrier approach to deliver therapeutic miRs to HNSCC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • MicroRNAs / administration & dosage*
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Lipids
  • MIRN107 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs