Long non-coding RNA AOC4P suppresses epithelial ovarian cancer metastasis by regulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition

J Ovarian Res. 2020 Apr 25;13(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13048-020-00644-5.


Objective: Currently, the function and mechanisms of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) involved in the metastasis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), especially those of the lncRNAs participated in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process, remains largely unknown. Here, we focused on a lncRNA named AOC4P and analysed its role in EOC.

Materials and methods: The expression of AOC4P gene was examined with quantitative real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). The cell migration and invasion were detected by Transwell and scratch assays. The in vivo metastatic activity was evaluated by intraperitoneal metastasis model. The downstream genes were investigated by a tumour EMT real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) array, and validated by qRT-PCR and Western blot.

Results: The results showed that AOC4P expression levels were decreased in EOC tissues and cell lines, and that the under-expression of AOC4P was positively correlated with FIGO stage and lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, the knockdown of AOC4P expression in poorly metastatic EOC cell lines remarkably facilitated cell migration/invasion while the overexpression of AOC4P in highly metastatic EOC cell lines reduced the metastatic ability of these cells in vitro. Consistently, the anti-metastatic role of AOC4P in vivo was also verified by bioluminescence imaging and tumour dissection. Mechanistically, the anti-metastatic effect of AOC4P in EOC was partially mediated by the EMT process accompanied by the alterations in MMP9 and COL1A2 expression.

Conclusion: These data highlight that AOC4P plays a critical role in EOC invasion/metastasis and could function as a novel and effective target for the lncRNA-based anti-metastatic clinical management of EOC.

Keywords: AOC4P; EMT; Metastasis; Ovarian cancer; lncRNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Collagen Type I / genetics
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Long Noncoding*


  • COL1A2 protein, human
  • Collagen Type I
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • long non-coding RNA AOC4P, human
  • MMP9 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9