Zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2) was closely related to the oncogenesis, development and response to chemotherapy of cancer. However, its biological functions in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) remain unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate the roles of ZEB2 in chemoresistance of SCLC and its possible molecular mechanism. Expression of ZEB2 was examined in sixty-eight cases of SCLC tissues by immunohistochemistry. Knockdown of ZEB2 was carried out in SCLC multidrug resistant cells (H69AR) to assess its influence on chemoresistance. The results showed that ZEB2 was expressed in 23.5% (16/68) of SCLC. Overexpression of ZEB2 was associated with the poor pathologic stage of SCLC (P < 0.001 by the Fisher's Exact Test) and the shorter survival time (by the Kaplan-Meier method). Inhibition of ZEB2 expression using small interfering RNA in H69AR cells sensitized cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs through increasing drug-induced cell apoptosis accompanied with S phase arrest. In silico analysis demonstrated that there are complementary binding sites between miR-200b and ZEB2 3'-UTR, and identified miR-200b as a potential regulator of ZEB2. We found that miR-200b was down-regulated in the resistant cells and enforced expression of miR-200b by miRNA mimics increased cell sensitivity. Overexpression of miR-200b led to the downregulation of ZEB2 at protein level. Luciferase reporter gene assay showed that 3'UTR ZEB2 activity was regulated by miR-200b. Our results suggest that ZEB2 modulates drug resistance and is regulated by miR-200b. All findings provide insight into the ZEB2 signaling mechanism and ZEB2 may be a potentially novel target for multi-drug resistance in SCLC.
Keywords: Drug resistance; MiR-200b; Small cell lung cancer; Zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2).
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