Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 or ErBb2) is a receptor tyrosine kinase overexpressed in 20-30% of breast cancers and associated with poor prognosis and outcome. Dysregulation of several microRNAs (miRNAs) plays a key role in breast cancer progression and metastasis. In this study, we screened and identified miRNAs dysregualted in HER2-positive breast cancer cells. Our molecular study demonstrated that miR-489 was specifically downregulated by the HER2-downstream signaling, especially through the MAPK pathway. Restoration or overexpression of miR-489 in HER2-positive breast cancer cells significantly inhibited cell growth in vitro and decreased the tumorigenecity and tumor growth in xenograft mice. Mechanistically, we found that overexpression of miR-489 led to the decreased levels of HER2 and SHP2 and thus attenuated HER2-downstream signaling. Furthermore, we for the first time demonstrated that HER2 is a direct target of miR-489 and therefore HER2-SHP2-MAPK and miR-489 signaling pathways form a mutually inhibitory loop. Using quantitative real-time PCR analysis and Fluorescent in situ hybridization technique (FISH), we found that miR-489 was expressed at significantly lower level in tumor tissues compared to the adjacent normal tissues. Downregulation of miR-489 in breast cancers was associated with aggressive tumor phenotypes. Overall, our results define a double-negative feedback loop involving miR-489 and the HER2-SHP2-MAPK signaling axis that can regulate breast cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression and might have therapeutic relevance for HER2-positive breast cancer.
Keywords: HER2; breast cancer; miR-489; microRNA; tumor suppressor.