Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) outpaces all the other forms of the female reproductive system malignancies. MicroRNAs have emerged as promising predictive biomarkers to therapeutic treatments as their expression might characterize the tumor stage or grade. In EOC, miR-200c is considered a master regulator of oncogenes or tumor suppressors. To investigate novel miR-200c-3p target genes involved in EOC tumorigenesis, we evaluated the association between this miRNA and the mRNA expression of several potential target genes by RNA-seq data of both 46 EOC cell lines from Cancer Cell line Encyclopedia (CCLE) and 456 EOC patient bio-specimens from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Both analyses showed a significant anticorrelation between miR-200c-3p and the protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit γ of calcineurin (PPP3CC) levels involved in the apoptosis pathway. Quantitative mRNA expression analysis in patient biopsies confirmed the inverse correlation between miR-200c-3p and PPP3CC levels. In vitro regulation of PPP3CC expression through miR-200c-3p and RNA interference technology led to a concomitant modulation of BCL2- and p-AKT-related pathways, suggesting the tumor suppressive role of PPP3CC in EOC. Our results suggest that inhibition of high expression of miR-200c-3p in EOC might lead to overexpression of the tumor suppressor PPP3CC and subsequent induction of apoptosis in EOC patients.
Keywords: PPP3CC; TCGA and CCLE databases; apoptosis; calcineurin; epithelial ovarian cancer; miRNA.