A major complication of colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most frequent and deadly types of cancer, is disease progression via liver metastases. At this stage, very few treatment options are available for patients, and the disease remains incurable. Herein, we used a well-established mouse model of CRC liver metastasis (CLM) to identify new regulators of this process. Using serial transplantation of murine MC38 adenocarcinoma cells, we obtained liver metastatic variants that displayed extremely strong colonization abilities. Using these newly established cell lines, we performed gene expression arrays and microRNA (miR) profiling. Comparative and predictive analyses between the two arrays showed higher expression of c-met and concomitant reduction of miR-146a in the mestastatic variants. In CRC patients, expression levels of both c-met and miR-146a were similar between primary tumors and liver metastases. Interestingly, we identified c-met as a new target for miR-146a, as miR-146a was able to impede c-met translation. Of relevance, overexpression of miR-146a in metastatic clones showed reduced in vitro malignancy and abolished the development of primary tumor and liver metastases. Our results document a new mechanism for c-met regulation in CLM and highlight the crucial role of miR-146a in suppressing tumorigenesis.
Cancer Letters – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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