alexa let-7 MicroRNA transfer in pancreatic cancer-derived cells inhibits in vitro cell proliferation but fails to alter tumor progression.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy

Author(s): Torrisani J, Bournet B, du Rieu MC, Bouisson M, Souque A,

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Abstract Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is still the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Western countries, with increasing incidence. Neither effective prognostic markers nor therapies exist for this cancer. MicroRNAs are potent inhibitors of protein translation, and aberrantly expressed in many cancers. Because let-7 microRNA targets the K-ras oncogene, we aimed to characterize let-7 expression and function in PDAC in vitro and in vivo. Let-7 expression was quantified by real-time RT-PCR from resected tumors and matching adjacent tissue, and in endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration material from patients with PDAC. Let-7 is detected by reverse transcription in situ PCR in a PDAC tissue microarray. PDAC-derived cells were transfected with plasmid-based synthetic microRNAs or by lentiviral transduction, in vitro and in vivo. Let-7 microRNA expression is strongly reduced in PDAC samples, as compared with adjacent tissue. Let-7 is present in normal acinar pancreatic cells, and lost in poorly differentiated cancer samples. In addition, let-7 expression was repressed in patients with PDAC not eligible for surgery. Restoring let-7 levels in cancer-derived cell lines strongly inhibits cell proliferation, K-ras expression, and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, but fails to impede tumor growth progression after intratumoral gene transfer or after implantation of Capan-1 cells stably overexpressing let-7 microRNA. We describe here for the first time the extensive loss of expression of let-7 in PDAC. In addition, this study provides the initial steps for a microRNA replacement therapy for this cancer. This article was published in Hum Gene Ther and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy

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