Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most frequent forms of cancer worldwide. Cells with abnormal growth have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). Metastasis is the most common cause of death in CRC patients and activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) triggers metastasis. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms of EMT to increase the survival rate of CRC. MicroRNA-17 (miRNA-17) has been proven to be significantly higher in CRC tissues than normal tissues. However, there are few papers about the role of miRNA-17 in CRC metastasis. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the mechanism underlying miRNA-17-5p related EMT in colon cancer cells.

Methods: Expression level of miRNA-17-5p as well as target mRNA were analyzed in HCT-15, HT29, LoVo, SW480 and COLO205 cell lines. In order to evaluate the correlation between miRNA-17-5p and EMT phenomenon, selected cell lines were transiently transfected either miRNA-17-5p mimic or miRNA-17-5p inhibitor and then phenotyping studies were conducted. Moreover, to find out the direct target of miRNA-17-5p, we performed AGO2 immunoprecipitation in each colon cancer cell lines.

Results: Real-time PCR revealed that miRNA-17-5p expression reversely correlated with vimentin expression in five colon cancer cell lines. Overexpression of miRNA-17-5p inhibited vimentin expression, cell migration and cell invasion in both LoVo and HT29 cells. On the other hand, inhibition of miRNA-17-5p promoted vimentin expression, cell migration and cell invasion in the same parallel cell lines. Through AGO2 immunoprecipitation analysis, we observed that miRNA-17-5p directly bind to vimentin 3'UTR to influence its stability and expression at the transcriptional level.

Conclusion: Our data demonstrated that down-regulated miRNA-17-5p promotes colon cancer cell migration and invasion by regulating vimentin expression. These findings propose that miRNA-17-5p may serve as a potential prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer.

Citation Format: Tea Won Kim, Yeo Song Lee, Hye Kyung Hong, Su Jeong Song, Nak Hyeon Yun, Yong Beom Cho. Downregulation of microRNA-17-5p promotes EMT by targeting vimentin in colorectal cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 492.