miRNA-641 inhibits the proliferation, migration, and invasion and induces apoptosis of cervical cancer cells by directly targeting ZEB1

Onco Targets Ther. 2018 Dec 11:11:8965-8976. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S190303. eCollection 2018.


Background: miRNAs have been found to be dysregulated in cervical cancer. The dysregulation of miRNA has been implicated in cervical carcinogenesis and progression. Therefore, further studies of the specific roles of deregulated miRNAs in cervical cancer and underlying molecular mechanisms may facilitate the identification of novel therapeutic techniques for patients with this disease. miRNA-641 (miR-641) was previously reported to serve an important role in lung cancer. However, the expression pattern and roles of miR-641 in cervical cancer remain unclear.

Method: In this study, the expression level of miR-641 in cervical cancer tissues and cell lines was detected using RT-qPCR. The influence of miR-641 upregulation in cervical cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion was evaluated using CCK-8 assay, flow cytometry assay, migration and invasion assays, respectively. In vivo tumor growth assay was utilized to determine the effect of miR-641 overexpression in the tumor growth of cervical cancer cells in vivo. The molecular mechanisms underlying the action of miR-641 in cervical cancer cells were also explored.

Results: We found that miR-641 expression was obviously decreased in cervical cancer tissues and cell lines, which strongly correlated with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage and lymph node metastasis. Upregulation of miR-641 inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and reduced metastasis in cervical cancer. Additionally, bioinformatics analysis predicted ZEB1 as a novel target gene of miR-641. Notably, luciferase reporter assay, RT-qPCR, and Western blot analysis revealed that miR-641 decreased ZEB1 expression in cervical cancer cells by directly targeting its 3'-untranslated region. Furthermore, ZEB1 was upregulated in cervical cancer tissues, which was negatively correlated with miR-641 expression. Moreover, recovered ZEB1 expression attenuated the tumor suppressive action of miR-641 overexpression in the malignant phenotypes of cervical cancer cells. Besides, miR-641 could hinder cervical cancer tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting ZEB1.

Conclusion: These results indicate that miR-641 has tumor suppressive roles in the development of cervical cancer by directly targeting ZEB1, suggesting that miR-641 is a novel, effective therapeutic target for treating patients with this disease.

Keywords: aggressive behaviors; microRNA-641; target therapy; zinc finger E-Box binding homeobox 1.

Publication types

  • Retracted Publication