Paclitaxel (Taxol) is an effective chemotherapeutic agent for treating breast cancer patients. However, chemoresistance is a major obstacle in cancer treatment. Here, we showed that overexpression of miR-16 promoted Taxol-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, IκB kinase β (IKBKB) was identified as a direct target of miR-16. Up-regulation of IKBKB suppressed Taxol-induced apoptosis and led to an increased resistance to Taxol, and restoring IKBKB expression in miR-16-overexpressing breast cancer cells recovered Taxol resistance. Moreover, miR-16 was highly expressed in Taxol-sensitive breast cancer tissues compared with Taxol-resistant tissues, and there was an inverse correlation between miR-16 expression and IKBKB expression in breast cancer tissues. The expression levels of miR-16 were negatively associated with T stages, whereas the expression of IKBKB was positively correlated with T stages, lymph node metastasis and clinical stages. Taken together, our data demonstrates that miR-16 sensitizes breast cancer cells to Taxol through the suppression of IKBKB expression, and targeting miR-16/IKBKB axis will be a promising strategy for overcoming Taxol resistance in breast cancer.
Keywords: IKBKB; Taxol; breast cancer; chemosensitivity; miR-16.