Dyregulation of autophagy is implicated in human cancers and the mechanism details remains largely unclear. Herein we report the regulatory role of miR-638 in autophagy of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and breast cancer cells. We found that miR-638 overexpression promotes starvation- and rapamycin-induced autophagy. In ESCC and breast cancer cells, miR-638 acts as an oncogene and promote cell proliferation, migration, as well as invasion in vitro and in vivo. In accordance with this, we observed significantly higher miR-638 expression in ESCC and breast cancer tissues compared to normal tissues. To further elucidate regulatory mechanisms of miR-638 in autophagy, we performed a computational nomination of its target genes through intersecting the results of multiple prediction algorithms. DACT3, a key regulator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, was predicted to be regulated by miR-638 by all programs and confirmed by experimental results. Depletion of DACT3 phenocopied effects of miR-638 overexpression, demonstrating its importance in autophagy. These results elucidate that the miR-638-DACT3 axis might be an important molecular pathway in controlling and autophagy and tumorigenesis. Our data in clinical tissue samples highlight miR-638 and DACT3 with histological marker for cancer detection and potentially therapeutic implications.

Citation Format: Ming Yang. MiR-638 promotes autophagy and malignant phenotypes of cancer cells via directly suppressing DACT3 [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 2538. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-2538