miR-103 promotes the metastasis and EMT of hepatocellular carcinoma by directly inhibiting LATS2

Int J Oncol. 2018 Dec;53(6):2433-2444. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2018.4580. Epub 2018 Oct 1.


Improving the long‑term survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains a challenge due to metastasis and recurrence. In this study, we demonstrate that the overexpression of miR‑103 in HCC cells promotes epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT), and is associated with an enhanced metastasis and poor outcomes, as shown by western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Mechanistically, using reporter luciferase assay we reveal that the serine/threonine‑protein kinase, large tumor suppressor kinase 2 (LATS2), a key component of the Hippo signaling pathway, is a direct target of miR‑103 in HCC cells. Transwell assay, MTT assay and western blot analysis were performed to reveal that LATS2 can counteract the functional effects of miR‑103 on HCC metastasis, growth and EMT. The analyses of clinical data indicated that a high expression of miR‑103 correlated with a high expression of vimentin, but with a low expression of LATS2 and E‑cadherin in HCC tissues. miR‑103 also reduced yes‑associated protein (YAP) phosphorylation. On the whole, the findings of this study suggest that miR‑103 promotes HCC metastasis and EMT by directly inhibiting LATS2. Thus, targeting miR‑103/LATS2 may prove to be a promising therapeutic strategy for HCC.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MIRN103 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • LATS2 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases