Background: The multidrug resistance and distant metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma result in high postoperative recurrence and low long-term survival rates. It has been demonstrated that the ectopic expression of miR-200 suppresses the multidrug resistance and metastasis of cancer. However, the expression and function of miR-200 in cholangiocarcinoma has not yet been described.
Methods: In this study, we identified dysregulated microRNAs (miRNAs, miR) in cholangiocarcinoma tissue by microarray analysis, and subsequent real-time PCR and northern blot analyses validated the expression of candidate miR. We performed functional analyses and investigated the relationship between miR-200b/c expression and the properties of cholangiocarcinoma cells. A dual luciferase assay was applied to examine the effect of miRNAs on the 3'-UTR of target genes, and we demonstrated the function of the target gene by siRNA transfection identifying the downstream pathway via western blotting.
Results: We found significantly downregulated expression of four miR-200 family members (miR-200a/b/c/429) and then confirmed that ectopic miR-200b/200c inhibits the migration and invasion of cholangiocarcinoma cells both in vitro and in vivo. We found that miR-200b/c influenced the tumourigenesis of cholangiocarcinoma cells including their tumour-initiating capacity, sphere formation, and drug resistance. We further found that miR-200b/c regulated migration and invasion capacities by directly targeting rho-kinase 2 and regulated tumorigenic properties by directly targeting SUZ12 (a subunit of a polycomb repressor complex).
Conclusion: Our study shows that miR-200b/c has a critical role in the regulation of the tumorigenic and metastatic capacity of cholangiocarcinoma and reveals the probable underlying mechanisms.