Constitutive activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway promotes malignant proliferation and it is inversely correlated with the prognosis of patients with breast cancer. However, mutations in key regulators, such as APC, Axin and β-catenin, contribute to aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in various cancers, but rarely found in breast cancer, suggesting that other mechanisms might be involved in the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in breast cancer. In the present study, we found that miR-1229 expression was markedly upregulated in breast cancer and associated with poor survival. Overexpressing miR-1229 promoted while inhibiting miR-1229 reduced, proliferation of breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, we found that overexpression of miR-1229 activated the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in breast cancer by directly targeting the multiple important negative regulators of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, including adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and inhibitor of β-catenin and T cell factor (ICAT). Taken together, our results suggest that miR-1229 plays an important role in promotion breast cancer progression and may represent a novel therapeutic target in breast cancer.
Keywords: Wnt/β-catenin pathway; breast cancer; miR-1229; proliferation.