MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that play crucial roles in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer that is resistant or rapidly develops resistance to a variety of chemotherapeutic agents. The role of miRNAs in melanoma progression and drug resistance has not been well studied. Herein, we demonstrate that miR-200c is down-regulated in melanomas (primary and metastatic) compared with melanocytic nevi. Overexpression of miR-200c in melanoma cells resulted in significantly decreased cell proliferation and migratory capacity as well as drug resistance. miR-200c overexpression resulted in significant down-regulation of BMI-1, ABCG2, ABCG5, and MDR1 expression and in a concomitant increase in E-cadherin levels. Knockdown of BMI-1 showed similar effects as miR-200c overexpression in melanoma cells. In addition, miR-200c overexpression significantly inhibited melanoma xenograft growth and metastasis in vivo, and this correlated with diminished expression of BMI-1 and reduced levels of E-cadherin in these tumors. The effects of miR-200c on melanoma cell proliferation and migratory capacity and on self-renewal were rescued by overexpression of Bmi-1, and the reversal of these phenotypes correlated with a reduction in E-cadherin expression and increased levels of ABCG2, ABCG5, and MDR1. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a key role for miR-200c in melanoma progression and drug resistance. These results suggest that miR-200c may represent a critical target for increasing melanoma sensitivity to clinical therapies.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.