MicroRNA 370 (miR-370) is located within the DLK1/DIO3 imprinting region on human chromosome 14, which has been identified as a cancer-associated genomic region. However, the role of miR-370 in malignances remains controversial. Here, we report that miR-370 was repressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and hepatoma cell lines. Using gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments, we demonstrated that miR-370 inhibited the malignant phenotype of HCC cells in vitro. Overexpression of miR-370 inhibited growth and metastasis of HCC cells in vivo. Moreover, the RNA-binding protein, LIN28A, was identified as a direct functional target of miR-370, which, in turn, blocked the biogenesis of miR-370 by binding to its precursor. LIN28A also mediated the suppressive effects of miR-370 on migration and invasion of HCC cells by post-transcriptionally regulating RelA/p65, which is an important effector of the canonical nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a well-known NF-κB downstream inflammatory molecule, reduced miR-370 but increased LIN28A levels in HCC. Furthermore, miR-370 levels were inversely correlated with LIN28A and IL-6 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, whereas LIN28A mRNA expression was positively correlated with IL-6 expression in human HCC samples. Interestingly, reduction of miR-370 expression was associated with the development of HCC in rats, as well as with aggressive tumor behavior and short survival in HCC patients.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate the involvement of a novel regulatory circuit consisting of miR-370, LIN28A, RelA/p65 and IL-6 in HCC progression. Manipulating this feedback loop may have beneficial effect in HCC treatment.
© 2013 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.