The let-7 microRNA family are known tumor suppressors often deregulated in cancer, yet the underlying mechanisms of let-7 disruption remain poorly understood. Neuroblastoma, a neural crest derived tumor, is defined in part by poor prognosis associated with genetic amplification of MYCN, itself a let-7 target. The let-7 biogenesis inhibitor LIN28B has recently been implicated as a critical regulator of MYCN, but we have employed siRNA and CRISPR-mediated gene disruption to show that LIN28B is dispensable for both MYCN protein expression and growth of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines despite robust de-repression of let-7, which prompted us to explore additional mechanisms for let-7 disruption. Consequently, we have found that amplified MYCN mRNA is a potent let-7 sponge that through exceptionally high expression defines a sub-class of self-sponging amplified-competing-endogenous-RNA (aceRNA), which reconciles the dispensability of LIN28B in NB cell lines. In addition, by analyzing a large cohort of tumor samples from patients, we observe frequent genomic loss of let-7 that inversely associates with MYCN-amplification, providing a functional explanation for the known MYCN-amplification-independent pattern of chromosome 3p and 11q loss, which harbor let-7g and let-7a2, respectively. We thus propose a model whereby let-7 disruption by genetic loss, LIN28B expression, or aceRNA sponging is a unifying mechanism of neuroblastoma pathogenesis. Indeed, our data show that the majority of neuroblastomas have at least one let-7 disruption event and that genetic loss in non-MYCN-amplified tumors marks decreased survival, further underscoring its importance. The inverse selective relationship between allelic loss and sponging of let-7 from highly expressed or amplified oncogenes may have broad implications for oncogenesis.

Note: This abstract was not presented at the meeting.

Citation Format: John T. Powers, Kaloyan M. Tsanov, Frederik Roles, Richard Ebright, Marc Seligson, Yvanka de Soysa, Patrick Cahan, Jessica Theissen, Grace S. LaPier, Dan S. Pearson, Frank Berthold, George Q. Daley. Multiple distinct mechanisms disrupt let-7 miRNA biogenesis and function in neuroblastoma. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr LB-290. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-LB-290