microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression and some have been shown to function as either oncogenes or tumor suppressors (oncomirs). Changes in miRNA expression have been observed in many human cancers but their role in endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC) remains poorly understood. We studied the expression of 365 human miRNAs using Taqman low density arrays in 98 EECs as well as 60 normal endometria. Potentially interesting miRNAs were then validated by qRT-PCR.

Expression of highly deregulated miRNAs on malignant cell properties was also examined in vitro using pre-/anti-miRNA transfection. Predicted mRNA targets for the miRNA of interest were also verified. We identified 16 significantly deregulated miRNAs in EEC and 7 of these are reported for the first time. Of these, miR-7, miR-194 and miR-449b knockdown and miR-204 induction repressed migration, invasion and extracellular matrix-adhesion in HEC1A endometrial cancer cells. For the cancer progression dysregulation of the expression of miR204 mediates migration and invasion of endometrial cancer by regulating FOXC1-related miR-204, FOXC1 was determined as its target gene possessing two miR-204-binding sites at the 3’-untranslated region. FOXC1 expression was inversely related to miR-204 expression in EEC. Functional analysis also revealed the involvement of FOXC1 in migration of HEC1A cells.

We have identified dysfunctional miRNAs in endometrial cancer and elucidated the crucial role of miR-204-FOXC1 interaction in endometrial cancer progression. This work provides insight into miRNA-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for endometrial cancers.

Fourth AACR International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development– Sep 27-30, 2010; Denver, CO