The miR-200b/200a/429 cluster prevents metastasis and induces dormancy in a murine claudin-low mammary tumor cell line

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Abstract

The miR-200 family of microRNAs consisting of miR-141, miR-200a, miR-200b, miR-200c and miR-429 are emerging as important regulators of breast cancer progression. This family of microRNAs maintain mammary epithelial identity and downregulation of miR-200 expression has been associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in mammary tumors. Therefore, re-expression of one or more miR-200 family members in mammary tumor cells with mesenchymal characteristics may restore an epithelial phenotype including growth and metastasis suppression. To test this hypothesis, the miR-200b/200a/429 cluster was re-expressed in a murine claudin-low cell line, RJ423. Re-expression of the miR-200b/200a/429 cluster in RJ423 cells significantly suppressed the expression of Vim, Snai1, Twist1, Twist2 and Zeb1, reverted RJ423 cells to a more epithelial morphology and significantly inhibited proliferation in vitro. Moreover, the miR-200b/200a/429 cluster prevented lung metastasis in an experimental metastasis model and although tumor initiation was not prevented, re-expression of the miR-200b/200a/429 cluster induced a dormancy-like state where mammary tumors failed to grow beyond ˜150mm3 or grew extremely slowly following intra-mammary injection. These dormant tumors contained elevated levels of collagen and were highly vascularized. Therefore, re-expression of the miR-200b/200a/429 cluster in the claudin-low mammary tumor cell line, RJ423, is sufficient to alter cell morphology, impair metastasis and induce tumor dormancy.

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