Research Papers:

MiRNA-3978 regulates peritoneal gastric cancer metastasis by targeting legumain

Yi Zhang, Yuan-yu Wu, Jun-nan Jiang, Xue-song Liu, Fu-jian Ji and Xue-dong Fang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:83223-83230. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12917

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Yi Zhang1, Yuan-yu Wu1, Jun-nan Jiang1, Xue-song Liu1, Fu-jian Ji1, Xue-dong Fang1

1Department of General Surgery, China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130012, China

Correspondence to:

Xue-dong Fang, email: [email protected]

Fu-jian Ji, email: [email protected]

Keywords: gastric cancer, miRNA-3978, legumain, metastasis

Received: July 06, 2016     Accepted: September 21, 2016     Published: October 26, 2016


Gastric cancer incidence and mortality are among the highest in China, with majority of the mortality related to peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer. Treatment is limited to radical resection, which is impeded by incidence of metastasis at time of initial diagnosis, thus making it imperative to identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Legumain, a lysosomal cysteine endopeptidase of the asparaginyl endopeptidase family, has been shown to be overexpressed in patients with metastatic gastric cancer disease and its expression was positively correlated to both disease progression and outcome. However, the mechanism of legumain expression is currently unknown. Legumain overexpression was found to occur at the level of post transcriptional gene regulation. In situ prediction algorithms identified legumain as a putative target of miR-3978. MiR-3978 was significantly decreased in peritoneal metastatic tissue specimens and in MKN45 cells that mimic peritoneal metastasis features. Reporter assays using LGMN (encoding legumain) 3’ untranslated region (UTR) showed that miR-3978 interacted with the wild-type but not miR-3978-seed mutant. Ectopic expression of miR-3978 mimic in the MKN45 cell line significantly decreased proliferation and suppressed in vitro migration and invasion. The miR-3978 mimic inhibited gastric carcinoma and metastatic progression in a mice model by regulating legumain protein expression. Inverse correlation of LGMN mRNA and miR-3978 levels in 20 gastric patients at different stages of metastatic disease confirmed the same. Cumulatively, our results indicate that loss of miR-3978 leads to increased expression of legumain, which indicates that miR-3978might be a biomarker for peritoneal metastasis in patients with gastric cancer.

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