Previous studies have demonstrated that microRNA-10a (miR-10a) regulates various opposing biological functions in breast cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate the exact functions of miR-10a in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. miR-10a expression was initially detected in two human breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and a normal human mammary epithelial cell line MCF-10A. The proliferation, migration and apoptosis of breast cancer cells were analyzed using MTT assays, Transwell assays and flow cytometry, respectively, following transfection of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells with an miR-10a mimic or anti-miR-10a. The expression of phosphorylated (p-)protein kinase B (Akt), p-mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR), p-ribosomal protein S6 kinase β-1 (p-p70S6K), phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit α (PIK3CA), Cytochrome C (Cyt C), B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), BCL-2 associated X, apoptosis regulator (Bax), and cleaved caspase-3 were analyzed by western blotting. The migration of MCF-7 cells pretreated with an mTOR inhibitor CCI-779, was detected using a Transwell assay. Relative miR-10a expression was significantly elevated in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and was at its highest levels in MCF-7 cells. Transfection with the miR-10a mimic significantly inhibited proliferation and migration, and promoted the apoptosis of breast cancer cells. Furthermore, upregulation of miR-10a markedly suppressed the levels of p-Akt, p-mTOR, p-p70S6K, and PIK3CA, and increased the expression of Cyt C, cleaved caspase-3, and the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. Anti-miR-10a had the opposite effects. In addition, CCI-779 reversed the effect of anti-miR-10a on the migration of MCF-7 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, miR-10a is downregulated in high aggressive breast cancer cells. miR-10a inhibited the proliferation and migration, and promoted apoptosis of breast cancer cells via phosphoinositide/Akt/mTOR signaling, and the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway.
Keywords: breast cancer; microRNA-10a; mitochondrial apoptotic pathway; phosphoinositide-3/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin.