Reduced expression of the H19 long non-coding RNA inhibits pancreatic cancer metastasis

Lab Invest. 2018 Jun;98(6):814-824. doi: 10.1038/s41374-018-0048-1. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


H19 is an oncofetal RNA expressed in the developing embryo as well as in bladder, breast, gastric, pancreatic, hepatocellular, and prostate cancers. Recent studies have shown that H19 enhances cancer invasion and metastasis; however, its roles in cancer remain controversial. In the current study, H19 exhibited the second largest increase (82.4-fold) and represented the only non-protein coding gene among 11 genes identified that were elevated over 10-fold in lung-metastasis-derived pancreatic cancer cells compared with their parental cells using a mouse metastatic model. Subsequently, we further clarified the roles of H19 in pancreatic cancer growth and metastasis using in vitro and in vivo techniques. In situ hybridization showed that H19 was detected in 23 of 139 invasive ductal carcinomas (17%), and that H19 expression positively correlated with higher histological grades (P < 0.0001). Overexpression of H19 in PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells induced higher motilities, whereas H19 inhibition using shRNA and siRNA showed opposite results; however, cell growth rates were not impacted. Intravenous injection of H19 shRNA vector-transfected PANC-1 cells yielded marked inhibition of metastasis in the liver and lungs of immunodeficient mice. These findings suggest that H19 has important roles in pancreatic cancer metastasis, and that inhibition of H19 represents a novel candidate for pancreatic cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / analysis
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / physiology*


  • H19 long non-coding RNA
  • RNA, Long Noncoding