p21 participates in the regulation of anaplastic thyroid cancer cell proliferation by miR-146b

Oncol Lett. 2016 Sep;12(3):2018-2022. doi: 10.3892/ol.2016.4874. Epub 2016 Jul 18.


Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) originates from completely undifferentiated cells, and is the most lethal type of thyroid-derived tumor. Numerous microRNAs have significant roles in tumorigenesis by targeting relevant genes. The role of microRNA 146b (miR-146b) in ATC remains to be elucidated. In order to characterize the role of miR-146b in ATC, overexpression or interference of miR-146b was induced in ATC cell lines, and cell proliferation and migration were evaluated. The potential targets of miR-146b were searched in the Gene Expression Omnibus database for ATC and matched non-tumor control samples. The expression level of potential targets was detected following overexpression or interference of miR-146b in ATC cell lines. In the present study, cell proliferation was promoted when overexpression of miR-146b was induced in ATC, and inhibited when interference of miR-146b was induced, which indicated that miR-146b affects the proliferation of ATC cells in vitro. In addition, cell migration of ATC was also affected by miR-146b. During the search for potential targets of miR-146b in ATC, p21 (also known as p21Waf1/Cip1 or CDKN1A) was noted for its role in cell cycle progression and tumor pathogenesis. The expression level of p21 was influenced by the level of miR-146b, and the results of the present study demonstrated that the level of p21 was increased when FRO cells were transformed with miR-146b mimic, and p21 was downregulated when FRO cells transformed with anti-miR-146b. In conclusion, p21 may participate in the regulation of ATC cell proliferation by miR-146b.

Keywords: anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; cell proliferation; microRNA-146b; oncogenesis; p21.