Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play key roles in cancer initiation and progression. The aim was to investigate the biological functions and clinical significance of long non-coding RNA CARLo-5 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). QRT-PCR was performed to investigate CARLo-5 expression in HCC tissues and cells. Kaplan-Meier curve and multivariate analysis validated the association between CARLo-5 expression and overall survival (OS) in HCC patients. Cell proliferation and invasion was performed by CCK8 cell proliferation, cell colony formation and transwell invasion assays. Western-blot assay was performed to evaluate the protein expression of Twist1, ZEB1, E-cadherin and Vimentin. Tumor xenografts were performed to evaluate the effect of CARLo-5 on tumor growth in vivo. RNA Immunoprecipitation (RIP) and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) were also performed. Our results showed that CARLo-5 expression was significantly higher in HCC tissues and upregulated CARLo-5 expression was closely correlated with tumor size and advanced tumor stage. Kaplan-Meier curve and multivariate analysis validated that higher CARLo-5 expression predicted a poor prognosis for HCC patients and was an independent risk factor for OS in HCC patients. In vitro, knockdown of CARLo-5 inhibited cell proliferation, colony formation, cell invasion and inhibited the cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by up-regulating the E-cadherin expression and down-regulating Twist1, ZEB1 and vimentin expression in HCC cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that CARLo-5 inhibited the miR-200b expression via EZH2. In vivo, knockdown of CARLo-5 significantly inhibited the tumor growth. Thus, our results indicated that CARLo-5 represented a novel tumor biomarker and therapeutic target for HCC.
Keywords: CARLo-5; EZH2; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-200b.