Long non-coding RNA LINC00346 promotes pancreatic cancer growth and gemcitabine resistance by sponging miR-188-3p to derepress BRD4 expression

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Feb 6;38(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s13046-019-1055-9.


Background: Long non-coding RNA LINC00346 has been recently suggested as a prognostic marker in pancreatic cancer. However, its biological function in pancreatic cancer has not yet been determined. In this study, we attempted to ascertain the role of LINC00346 in regulating the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer.

Methods: The effects of overexpression and knockdown of LINC00346 on the proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and gemcitabine resistance were investigated. Bioinformatic analysis, luciferase reporter assay, and RNA immunoprecipitation assay were performed to search for potential microRNAs (miRs) that can interact with LINC00346.

Results: Overexpression of LINC00346 significantly enhanced the proliferation, colony formation, and tumorigenesis of pancreatic cancer cells. Conversely, knockdown of LINC00346 suppressed pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and caused a cell-cycle arrest at the G2/M-phase. Depletion of LINC00346 also enhanced gemcitabine sensitivity in pancreatic cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistic investigation revealed that LINC00346 acted as a sponge for miR-188-3p and blocked the repression of BRD4 by miR-188-3p in pancreatic cancer cells. Clinical evidence indicated a negative correlation between LINC00346 and miR-188-3p in pancreatic cancer specimens. Rescue experiments showed that LINC00346 attenuated the growth-suppressing and chemosensitizing effects of miR-188-3p on pancreatic cancer cells. In addition, silencing of BRD4 significantly inhibited LINC00346-induced pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and colony formation.

Conclusions: LINC00346 shows the ability to promote pancreatic cancer growth and gemcitabine resistance, which is in part mediated by antagonization of miR-188-3p and induction of BRD4. Targeting LINC00346 may improve gemcitabine-based therapeutic efficacy.

Keywords: Gemcitabine; Growth; LINC00346; Pancreatic cancer; miR-188-3p.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • BRD4 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • MIRN188 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Transcription Factors
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Gemcitabine