Objectives: Resistance to imatinib has been recognized as a major challenge for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Aberrant expression of miR-451 has been reported to participate in anticancer drug resistance. However, the role of miR-451 in imatinib resistance has not been investigated. The present study was undertaken to determine the expression of miR-451 in order to find a possible association between the expression of this miRNA and imatinib resistance in Tunisian CML patients.
Methods: First, real-time RT-PCR was performed to identify the expression of miR-451 in peripheral leukocytes of 59 CML patients treated with imatinib. Then, bioinformatics analysis was carried out to understand the regulatory roles of miR-451 in imatinib-resistant process.
Results: Downregulated miR-451 was observed in imatinib-resistant CML cases. In silico analysis identified MYC as a potential target of miR-451. We further revealed the existence of an MYC-binding site in MiR-451 promoter region. On the other hand, increased level of MYC was detected in imatinib-resistant CML cases which may explain the causative role of MYC in CML cases and the downregulation of miR-451.
Conclusion and discussion: Taken together, our findings suggest that miR-451 and MYC form together a regulatory loop which may act as a potential therapeutic target, and disruption of suggested regulatory loop could help to improve CML therapy.
Keywords: Chronic myeloid leukemia; MYC; imatinib mesylate; miR-451; resistance.