Research Papers:

miR-22 targets YWHAZ to inhibit metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma and its down-regulation predicts a poor survival

Ming Chen, Wei Hu, Chen-Ling Xiong, Zhen Qu, Chang-Qing Yin, Yu-Hui Wang, Chang-Liang Luo, Qing Guan, Chun-Hui Yuan and Fu-Bing Wang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:80751-80764. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13037

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Ming Chen1, Wei Hu2, Chen-Ling Xiong2, Zhen Qu4, Chang-Qing Yin2, Yu-Hui Wang2, Chang-Liang Luo2, Qing Guan3, Chun-Hui Yuan2, Fu-Bing Wang2

1Department of Blood Transfusion, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

2Department of Laboratory Medicine, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

3Department of Immunology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430071, P.R. China

4Guangdong Food and Drug Vocational College, Guangzhou 510520, P.R. China

Correspondence to:

Fu-Bing Wang, email: [email protected]

Chun-Hui Yuan, email: [email protected]

Keywords: miR-22, hepatocellular carcinoma, survival, YWHAZ, FOXO3a

Received: August 20, 2016     Accepted: October 28, 2016     Published: November 03, 2016


Many miRNAs are associated with the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and some exhibit potential prognostic value. In this study, to further confirm the prognostic value of miRNAs in HCC, we employed miRNA-sequencing data of tumor tissues of 372 HCC patients released by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and identified 3 miRNAs including miR-22, miR-9-1 and miR-9-2 could be used as independent predictors for HCC prognostic evaluation. As a tumor-suppressive miRNA, miR-22 was down-regulated in HCC tissues. This down-regulation correlated with tumor vascular invasion, Edmondson–Steiner grade, TNM stage, and AFP level. Moreover, biofunctional investigations revealed that miR-22 significantly attenuated cellular proliferation, migration and invasion of HCC cells. Additionally, through gene expression profiles and bioinformatics analysis, YWHAZ was identified to be a direct target of miR-22 and its overexpression partially counteracted the inhibitory effects of miR-22 on HCC cells. Finally, molecular studies further confirmed that miR-22 promoted the accumulation of FOXO3a in nucleus and subsequently reversed invasive phenotype of HCC cells by repressing YWHAZ-mediated AKT phosphorylation. Taken together, these data demonstrate that miR-22 exhibits tumor-suppressive effects in HCC cells by regulating YWHAZ/AKT/FOXO3a signaling and might be used as an independent prognostic indicator for HCC patients.

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