Overexpression of miR-489 enhances efficacy of 5-fluorouracil-based treatment in breast cancer stem cells by targeting XIAP

Oncotarget. 2017 Dec 6;8(69):113837-113846. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.22985. eCollection 2017 Dec 26.


Population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in breast cancer is reported to be resistant to chemotherapy. Furthermore, many cases of treatment failure are induced by the chemoresistance of CSCs in breast cancer patients. Therefore, novel strategies should be explored urgently to reverse drug-resistance in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). In this study, we isolated and cultured the BCSCs from the T-47D and SKBR3 breast cancer cell lines. We observed significant resistance to 5-fluorouracil in BCSCs. Mechanically, we found that expression of miR-489 was decreased in BCSCs. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-489 was found to increase the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil to BCSCs. XIAP, a key anti-apoptotic protein, was proved to be the target of miR-489. We found that enforced expression of XIAP through its recombinant expression vector abolished the effect of miR-489 on reversing the 5-fluorouracil resistance. On the contrary, embelin, a XIAP specific inhibitor, was found to sensitize BCSCs to 5-fluorouracil similarly with miR-489. In summary, our data demonstrate that introduction with miR-489 represents a novel strategy to enhance efficacy of 5-fluorouracil-based treatment in BCSCs.

Keywords: 5-fluorouracil; BCSCs; XIAP; miR-489; resistance.