MicroRNA-370-3p shuttled by breast cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles induces fibroblast activation through the CYLD/Nf-κB axis to promote breast cancer progression

FASEB J. 2021 Mar;35(3):e21383. doi: 10.1096/fj.202001430RR.


Breast cancer is a malignancy arising in the mammary epithelial tissues. Recent studies have indicated the abundance of microRNAs (miRNAs) in extracellular vesicles (EVs), and their interactions have been illustrated to exert crucial roles in the cell-to-cell communication. The present study focused on investigating whether EV-delivered miR-370-3p affects breast cancer. Initially, the miR-370-3p expression pattern was examined in the cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), normal fibroblasts (NFs), and cancerous cells-derived EVs. The relation of miR-370-3p to CYLD was assessed using luciferase activity assay. Afterwards, based on ectopic expression and depletion experiments in the MCF-7 breast cancer cells, we evaluated stemness, migration, invasion, and sphere formation ability, and EMT, accompanied with measurement on the expression patterns of pro-inflammatory factors and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling-related genes. Finally, tumorigenesis and proliferation were analyzed in vivo using a nude mouse xenograft model. The in vitro experiments revealed that breast cancer cell-derived EVs promoted NF activation, while activated fibroblasts contributed to enhanced stemness, migration, invasion, as well as EMT of cancerous cells. In addition, EVs could transfer miR-370-3p from breast cancer cells to NFs, and EV-encapsulated miR-370-3p was also found to facilitate fibroblast activation. Mechanistically, EV-encapsulated miR-370-3p downregulated the expression of CYLD through binding to its 3'UTR and activated the NF-κB signaling pathway, thereby promoting the cellular functions in vitro and in vivo in breast cancer. Taken together, EVs secreted by breast cancer cells could carry miR-370-3p to aggravate breast cancer through downregulating CYLD expression and activating the NF-κB signaling pathway.

Keywords: CYLD; NF-κB; extracellular vesicles; fibroblasts; highly metastatic breast cancer cells; miR-370-3p.