MicroRNA-708-3p mediates metastasis and chemoresistance through inhibition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer

Cancer Sci. 2018 May;109(5):1404-1413. doi: 10.1111/cas.13588. Epub 2018 Apr 29.


Metastasis and chemoresistance remain major challenges in the clinical treatment of breast cancer. Recent studies show that dysregulated microRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in metastasis and chemoresistance development in breast cancer. Herein, we identified downregulated expression of miR-708-3p in breast cancers. In particular, miR-708-3p expression was significantly decreased in specimens from breast cancer patients with metastasis compared to that in specimens from patients with no metastasis. Consistent with clinical data, our in vitro data show that miR-708-3p was more significantly decreased in invasive breast cancer cell lines. In addition, our data show that inhibition of miR-708-3p significantly stimulated breast cancer cell metastasis and induced chemoresistance both in vitro and in vivo. In contrast, overexpression of miR-708-3p dramatically inhibited breast cancer cell metastasis and enhanced the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we identified that miR-708-3p inhibits breast cancer cell epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by directly targeting EMT activators, including ZEB1, CDH2 and vimentin. Taken together, our findings suggest that miR-708-3p acts as a cancer suppressor miRNA and carries out its anticancer function by inhibiting EMT in breast cancer. In addition, our findings suggest that restoration of miR-708-3p may be a novel strategy for inhibiting breast cancer metastasis and overcoming the chemoresistance of breast cancer cells.

Keywords: EMT; breast cancer; chemoresistance; metastasis; miR-708-3p.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Down-Regulation
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging


  • MIRN708 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs