Extracellular vesicle-encapsulated miR-30e suppresses cholangiocarcinoma cell invasion and migration via inhibiting epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Oncotarget. 2018 Mar 27;9(23):16400-16417. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.24711.


Early-staged cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is difficult to diagnose due to its high potential for invasion and metastasis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is induced by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in a process thought to be important for invasion and metastasis in several cancers, including CCA. Although microRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several malignancies, their roles to CCA are not clearly understood. Some miRNAs were reported to be included in extracellular vesicles (EVs) and transferred from their donor cells to other cells, modulating recipient cell behaviors. In this study, the involvement and functional roles of EV-contained miRNAs during EMT in human CCA were determined. Expression profiling identified a subset of miRNAs that were reduced by TGF-β in CCA cells. Among these, miR-30e was highly downregulated by TGF-β and predicted to target Snail, which is an EMT-inducible transcription factor. MiR-30e overexpression suppressed cell invasion and migration via inhibiting EMT, whereas miR-30e inhibition promoted EMT, cell invasion and migration. Moreover, miR-30e was enriched in EVs derived from CCA cells after miR-30e overexpression, and miR-30e intercellular transfer through EVs suppressed EMT, cell invasion and migration in recipient CCA cells. Together, our results suggest that EV-mediated miR-30e transfer could inhibit EMT via directly targeting Snail, which subsequently suppresses CCA cell invasion and migration. These findings provide several new insights into regulatory mechanisms of tumor invasion and metastasis in human CCA.

Keywords: cholangiocarcinoma; epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); exosome; extracellular vesicles; microRNA (miRNA).