Cancer-secreted microRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging mediators of cancer-host crosstalk. Here we show that miR-105, which is characteristically expressed and secreted by metastatic breast cancer cells, is a potent regulator of migration through targeting the tight junction protein ZO-1. In endothelial monolayers, exosome-mediated transfer of cancer-secreted miR-105 efficiently destroys tight junctions and the integrity of these natural barriers against metastasis. Overexpression of miR-105 in nonmetastatic cancer cells induces metastasis and vascular permeability in distant organs, whereas inhibition of miR-105 in highly metastatic tumors alleviates these effects. miR-105 can be detected in the circulation at the premetastatic stage, and its levels in the blood and tumor are associated with ZO-1 expression and metastatic progression in early-stage breast cancer.
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