The therapeutic promise of microRNA (miRNA) in cancer has yet to be realized. In this study, we identified and therapeutically exploited a new role for miR-10b at the metastatic site, which links its overexpression to tumor cell viability and proliferation. In the protocol developed, we combined a miR-10b-inhibitory nanodrug with low-dose anthracycline to achieve complete durable regressions of metastatic disease in a murine model of metastatic breast cancer. Mechanistic investigations suggested a potent antiproliferative, proapoptotic effect of the nanodrug in the metastatic cells, potentiated by a cell-cycle arrest produced by administration of the low-dose anthracycline. miR-10b was overexpressed specifically in cells with high metastatic potential, suggesting a role for this miRNA as a metastasis-specific therapeutic target. Taken together, our results implied the existence of pathways that regulate the viability and proliferation of tumor cells only after they have acquired the ability to grow at distant metastatic sites. As illustrated by miR-10b targeting, such metastasis-dependent apoptotic pathways would offer attractive targets for further therapeutic exploration.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.