Background: B7-H3, an immunoregulatory protein, is overexpressed in several cancers and is often associated with metastasis and poor prognosis. Here, our aim was to identify microRNAs (miRNAs) regulating B7-H3 and assess their potential prognostic implications in breast cancer.
Methods: MicroRNAs targeting B7-H3 were identified by transfecting two breast cancer cell lines with a library of 810 miRNA mimics and quantifying changes of B7-H3 protein levels using protein lysate microarrays. For validations we used western immunoblotting and 3'-UTR luciferase assays. Clinical significance of the miRNAs was assayed by analysing whether their expression levels correlated with outcome in two cohorts of breast cancer patients (142 and 81 patients).
Results: We identified nearly 50 miRNAs that downregulated B7-H3 protein levels. Western immunoblotting validated the impact of the 20 most effective miRNAs. Thirteen miRNAs (miR-214, miR-363*, miR-326, miR-940, miR-29c, miR-665, miR-34b*, miR-708, miR-601, miR-124a, miR-380-5p, miR-885-3p, and miR-593) targeted B7-H3 directly by binding to its 3'-UTR region. Finally, high expression of miR-29c was associated with a significant reduced risk of dying from breast cancer in both cohorts.
Conclusions: We identified miRNAs efficiently downregulating B7-H3 expression. The expression of miR-29c correlated with survival in breast cancer patients, suggesting a tumour suppressive role for this miRNA.