Long non-coding RNA UICLM promotes colorectal cancer liver metastasis by acting as a ceRNA for microRNA-215 to regulate ZEB2 expression

Theranostics. 2017 Oct 17;7(19):4836-4849. doi: 10.7150/thno.20942. eCollection 2017.


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in the pathology of various tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the role of lncRNA in CRC liver metastasis remains unclear. Methods: a microarray was performed to identify the differentially expressed lncRNAs between CRC tissues with and without liver metastasis. Survival analysis was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method and assessed using the log-rank test. In vitro and in vivo assays were preformed to explore the biological effects of the differentially expressed lncRNA in CRC cells. Results: the lncRNA UICLM (up-regulated in colorectal cancer liver metastasis) was significantly up-regulated in cases of CRC with liver metastasis. Moreover, UICLM expression was higher in CRC tissues than in normal tissues, and UICLM expression was associated with poor patient survival. Knockdown of UICLM inhibited CRC cell proliferation, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and CRC stem cell formation in vitro as well as tumor growth and liver metastasis in vivo. Ectopic expression of UICLM promoted CRC cell proliferation and invasion. Mechanistic investigations revealed that UICLM induced its biological effects by regulating ZEB2, as the oncogenesis facilitated by UICLM was inhibited by ZEB2 depletion. Further study indicated that UICLM acted as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) for miR-215 to regulate ZEB2 expression. Conclusions: taken together, our findings demonstrate how UICLM induces CRC liver metastasis and may offer a novel prognostic marker and therapeutic target for this disease.

Keywords: CRC; liver metastasis.; lncRNA UICLM; long non-coding RNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Female
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • Zinc Finger E-box Binding Homeobox 2 / genetics*
  • Zinc Finger E-box Binding Homeobox 2 / metabolism


  • MIRN215 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • ZEB2 protein, human
  • Zinc Finger E-box Binding Homeobox 2