Onco-miR-21 Promotes Stat3-Dependent Gastric Cancer Progression
journal contributionposted on 2022-09-09, 03:42 authored by Janson TseJanson Tse, T Pierce, Annalisa Leandra Elena CarliAnnalisa Leandra Elena Carli, Mariah Grace Alorro, S Thiem, EG Marcusson, Matthias ErnstMatthias Ernst, Michael BuchertMichael Buchert
MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is a small, non-coding RNA overexpressed in gastric cancer and many other solid malignancies, where it exhibits both pro-and anti-tumourigenic properties. However, the pathways regulating miR-21 and the consequences of its inhibition in gastric cancer remain incompletely understood. By exploiting the spontaneous Stat3-dependent formation of inflammationassociated gastric tumors in Gp130F/F mice, we functionally established miR-21 as a Stat3-controlled driver of tumor growth and progression. We reconciled our discoveries by identifying several conserved Stat3 binding motifs upstream of the miR-21 gene promoter, and showed that the systemic administration of a miR-21-specific antisense oligonucleotide antagomir reduced the established gastric tumor burden in Gp130F/F mice. We molecularly delineated the therapeutic benefits of miR21 inhibition with the functional restoration of PTEN in vitro and in vivo, alongside an attenuated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and the extracellular matrix remodeling phenotype of tumors. We corroborated our preclinical findings by correlating high STAT3 and miR-21 expression with the reduced survival probability of gastric cancer patients. Collectively, our results provide a molecular framework by which miR-21 mediates inflammation-associated gastric cancer progression, and establish miR-21 as a robust therapeutic target for solid malignancies characterized by excessive Stat3 activity.