MicroRNAs (MiRNAs) are a growing class of small non-coding RNAs that exhibit widespread dysregulation in prostate cancer. We profiled miRNA expression in syngeneic human prostate cancer cell lines that differed in their metastatic potential in order to determine their role in aggressive prostate cancer. miR-888 was the most differentially expressed miRNA observed in human metastatic PC3-ML cells relative to non-invasive PC3-N cells, and its levels were higher in primary prostate tumors from cancer patients, particularly those with seminal vesicle invasion. We also examined a novel miRNA-based biomarker source called expressed prostatic secretions in urine (EPS urine) for miR-888 expression and found that its levels were preferentially elevated in prostate cancer patients with high-grade disease. These expression studies indicated a correlation for miR-888 in disease progression. We next tested how miR-888 regulated cancer-related pathways in vitro using human prostate cancer cell lines. Overexpression of miR-888 increased proliferation and migration, and conversely inhibition of miR-888 activity blocked these processes. miR-888 also increased colony formation in PC3-N and LNCaP cells, supporting an oncogenic role for this miRNA in the prostate. Our data indicates that miR-888 functions to promote prostate cancer progression and can suppress protein levels of the tumor suppressor genes RBL1 and SMAD4. This miRNA holds promise as a diagnostic tool using an innovative prostatic fluid source as well as a therapeutic target for aggressive prostate cancer.
Keywords: EPS urine; expressed prostatic secretions urine; miR-888; miRNA; microRNA; non-coding RNA; prostate; prostate cancer.