CD44s Induces miR-629-3p Expression in Association with Cisplatin Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer Cells

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Apr 1;12(4):856. doi: 10.3390/cancers12040856.


Cisplatin (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum II [CDDP] ) is a well-known chemotherapeutic drug that has been used for the treatment of various types of human cancers, including head and neck cancer. Cisplatin exerts anticancer effects by causing DNA damage, replication defects, transcriptional inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and the induction of apoptosis. However, drug resistance is one of the most serious problems with cancer chemotherapy, and it causes expected therapeutic effects to not always be achieved. Here, we analyzed global microRNA (miRNA) expression in CD44 standard form (CD44s)-expressing SAS cells, and we identified miR-629-3p as being responsible for acquiring anticancer drug resistance in head and neck cancer. The introduction of miR-629-3p expression inhibited apoptotic cell death under cisplatin treatment conditions, and it promoted cell migration. Among the computationally predicted target genes of miR-629-3p, we found that a number of gene expressions were suppressed by the transfection with miR-629-3p. Using a xenografting model, we showed that miR-629-3p conferred cisplatin resistance to SAS cells. Clinically, increased miR-629-3p expression tended to be associated with decreased survival in head and neck cancer patients. In conclusion, our data suggest that the increased expression of miR-629-3p provides a mechanism of cisplatin resistance in head and neck cancer and may serve as a therapeutic target to reverse chemotherapy resistance.

Keywords: SAS cell; apoptosis; cancer stem cell; cisplatin resistance; miR-629-3p; migration.