Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Systemic chemotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of patients with advanced liver cancer. However, chemoresistance to cisplatin is a major limitation of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in the clinic, and the underlying mechanism of such resistance is not fully understood. In the study, we found that miR-199a-5p levels were significantly reduced in HCC patients treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Cisplatin treatment also resulted in decreased miR-199a-5p levels in human HCC cell lines. Forced expression of miR-199a-5p promoted cisplatin-induced inhibition of cell proliferation. Cisplatin treatment activated autophagy in Huh7 and HepG2 cells, which increased cell proliferation. We further demonstrated that downregulated miR-199a-5p enhanced autophagy activation by targeting autophagy-associated gene 7 (ATG7). More important, autophagy inhibition abrogated miR-199a-5p downregulation-induced cell proliferation. These data demonstrated that miR-199a-5p/autophagy signaling represents a novel pathway regulating chemoresistance, thus offering a new target for chemotherapy of HCC.
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