Reduced expression of miR-200 family members contributes to antiestrogen resistance in LY2 human breast cancer cells

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 23;8(4):e62334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062334. Print 2013.


Introduction: The role of miRNAs in acquired endocrine-resistant breast cancer is not fully understood. One hallmark of tumor progression is epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), characterized by a loss of cell adhesion resulting from reduced E-cadherin and increased cell mobility. miR-200 family members regulate EMT by suppressing expression of transcriptional repressors ZEB1/2. Previously we reported that the expression of miR-200a, miR-200b, and miR-200c was lower in LY2 endocrine-resistant, mesenchymal breast cancer cells compared to parental, endocrine sensitive, epithelial MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Here we investigated the regulation of miR-200 family members and their role in endocrine-sensitivity in breast cancer cells.

Results: miR-200 family expression was progressively reduced in a breast cancer cell line model of advancing endocrine/tamoxifen (TAM) resistance. Concomitant with miR-200 decrease, there was an increase in ZEB1 mRNA expression. Overexpression of miR-200b or miR-200c in LY2 cells altered cell morphology to a more epithelial appearance and inhibited cell migration. Further, miR-200b and miR-200c overexpression sensitized LY2 cells to growth inhibition by estrogen receptor (ER) antagonists TAM and fulvestrant. Knockdown of ZEB1 in LY2 cells recapitulated the effect of miR-200b and miR-200c overexpression resulting in inhibition of LY2 cell proliferation by TAM and fulvestrant, but not the aromatase inhibitor exemestane. Demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) in combination with histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) increased miR-200b and miR-200c in LY2 cells. Concomitant with the increase in miR-200b and miR-200c, ZEB1 expression was decreased and cells appeared more epithelial in morphology and were sensitized to TAM and fulvestrant inhibition. Likewise, knockdown of ZEB1 increased antiestrogen sensitivity of LY2 cells resulting in inhibition of cell proliferation.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that reduced miRNA-200b and miR-200c expression contributes to endocrine resistance in breast cancer cells and that the reduced expression of these miR-200 family members in endocrine-resistant cells can be reversed by 5-aza-dC+TSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hydroxytestosterones / pharmacology
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Cadherins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hydroxytestosterones
  • MIRN200 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcription Factors
  • ZEB1 protein, human
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1
  • 4,17 beta-dihydroxy-4-androstene-3-one
  • Estradiol