Isoliquiritigenin modulates miR-374a/PTEN/Akt axis to suppress breast cancer tumorigenesis and metastasis

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 21;7(1):9022. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08422-y.


Breast cancer is one of the most frightful causes of death among females worldwide. Accumulating evidence attached the importance of microRNAs negative regulation to tumorigenesis in breast cancer, suggesting novel cancer therapies targeting microRNAs modulation. Recent studies demonstrated that isoliquiritigenin could inhibit breast cancer cells proliferation and migration, but the underlying mechanism is still limited. In this study, the anti-cancer effects as well as the detailed mechanisms of isoliquiritigenin were explored. The results proved that isoliquiritigenin could negatively regulate breast cancer growth through the induction of apoptosis. We also verified the anti-cancer effect of isoliquiritigenin on migration and invasion, and identified highly expressed miR-374a as one of the main microRNAs down-regulated by isoliquiritigenin treatment in breast cancer. Further study displayed that isoliquiritigenin increased PTEN expression through the decrease of miR-374a expression to inhibit the aberrant Akt signaling. Our findings suggest isoliquiritigenin as a novel anti-cancer candidate significantly regulating miR-374a/PTEN/Akt axis in microRNA-based breast cancer therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinogenesis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chalcones / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Chalcones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • MIRN374 microRNA 374, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • isoliquiritigenin
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase