Breast cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles transfer miR-182-5p and promote breast carcinogenesis via the CMTM7/EGFR/AKT axis

Mol Med. 2021 Jul 16;27(1):78. doi: 10.1186/s10020-021-00338-8.


Background: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from tumor cells are implicated in the progression of malignancies through the transfer of molecular cargo microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs). We aimed to explore the role of EVs derived from breast cancer cells carrying miR-182-5p in the occurrence and development of breast cancer.

Methods: Differentially expressed miRNAs and their downstream target genes related to breast cancer were screened through GEO and TCGA databases. miR-182-5p expression was examined in cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissues from patients with breast cancer. EVs were isolated from breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 cells and identified. The gain- and loss-of function approaches of miR-182-5p and CKLF-like MARVEL transmembrane domain-containing 7 (CMTM7) were performed in MDA-MB-231 cells and the isolated EVs. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were subjected to co-culture with MDA-MB-231 cell-derived EVs and biological behaviors were detected by CCK-8 assay, flow cytometry, immunohistochemical staining, Transwell assay and vessel-like tube formation in vitro. A xenograft mouse model in nude mice was established to observe the tumorigenesis and metastasis of breast cancer cells in vivo.

Results: miR-182-5p was highly expressed in breast cancer tissues and cells, and this high expression was associated with poor prognosis of breast cancer patients. miR-182-5p overexpression was shown to promote tumor angiogenesis in breast cancer. Moreover, our data indicated that miR-182-5p was highly enriched in EVs from MDA-MD-231 cells and then ultimately enhanced the proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis of HUVECs in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we found that CMTM7 is a target of miR-182-5p. EVs-miR-182-5p promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis of breast cancer cells by regulating the CMTM7/EGFR/AKT signaling axis.

Conclusions: Taken altogether, our findings demonstrates that EVs secreted by breast cancer cells could carry miR-182-5p to aggravate breast cancer through downregulating CMTM7 expression and activating the EGFR/AKT signaling pathway.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Breast cancer; CMTM7; EGFR/AKT signaling pathway; Extracellular vesicles; Human umbilical vein endothelial cells; miR-182-5p.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't