microRNA (miR)-141-3p has context-dependent effects on tumor progression. In this study, we attempted to explore the expression and function of miR-141-3p in cervical cancer. We found that miR-141-3p expression was significantly increased in cervical cancer specimens relative to normal cervical tissues. Moreover, miR-141-3p levels were associated with tumor size and lymph node metastasis status. Ectopic expression of miR-141-3p significantly increased cervical cancer cell proliferation, colony formation, invasion, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition, whereas depletion of miR-141-3p suppressed cervical cancer cell proliferation and invasion. FOXA2 was identified to be a target of miR-141-3p. Overexpression of miR-141-3p led to a marked inhibition of endogenous FOXA2 in cervical cancer cells. FOXA2 silencing phenocopied the effects of miR-141-3p overexpression on cervical cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Enforced expression of FOXA2 blocked the effects of miR-141-3p on cervical cancer cell proliferation and invasion. miR-141-3p overexpression significantly accelerated the growth of xenograft tumors, which was accompanied by a striking reduction in FOXA2 expression. miR-141-3p acts as an oncogene in cervical cancer largely through repression of FOXA2. Targeting miR-141-3p may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for cervical cancer.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; FOXA2; Growth; Invasion; miR-141-3p.
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