MicroRNA-92a (miR-92a) was recently reported to have an oncogenic role in cervical cancer; however, the underlying mechanism remains largely unclear. The present study aimed to investigate the expression, clinical significance and regulatory mechanism of miR-92a in cervical cancer. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) data indicated that miR-92a was significantly upregulated in cervical cancer tissues compared with matched adjacent non-tumor tissues (P<0.01). High expression of miR-92a was significantly associated with poor differentiation (P=0.031), advanced clinical stage (P=0.011) and lymph node metastasis (P=0.014), but not associated with age, tumor size and distant metastasis. Knockdown of miR-92a significantly inhibited the viability and invasion of cervical cancer HeLa cells, while overexpression of miR-92a significantly enhanced HeLa cell viability and invasion (P<0.01). Luciferase reporter assay identified Dickkopf-related protein 3 (DKK3) as a target gene of miR-92a, and the protein expression of DKK3 was negatively regulated by miR-92a in HeLa cells. Furthermore, overexpression of DKK3 significantly eliminated the stimulative effects of miR-92a on HeLa cell viability and invasion (P<0.01). Additionally, DKK3 was significantly downregulated in cervical cancer tissues compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues (P<0.01), inversely correlated to the miR-92a levels in cervical cancer tissues (P<0.01). In summary, the present study indicated that miR-92a promotes cell viability and invasion in cervical cancer, partly at least, via inhibiting the protein expression of DKK3. Therefore, the present study highlights the clinical significance of the miR-92a/DKK3 axis in cervical cancer.
Keywords: Dickkopf-related protein 3; cervical cancer; invasion; microRNA; viability.