Research Papers:

Dihydroartemisinin-regulated mRNAs and lncRNAs in chronic myeloid leukemia

Xiang Li, Yue Gao, Qiang Zhang, Nan Hu, Dong Han, Shangwei Ning and Zhuo Ao _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:2543-2552. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23274

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Xiang Li1,*, Yue Gao2,*, Qiang Zhang1,*, Nan Hu1,3, Dong Han1, Shangwei Ning2 and Zhuo Ao1

1CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing 100190, China

2College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150081, China

3Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengde Medical University, Chengde 066000, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhuo Ao, email: [email protected]

Shangwei Ning, email: [email protected]

Keywords: dihydroartemisinin; chronic myeloid leukemia; long non-coding RNA; lncRNA-mRNA network; steroid biosynthesis

Received: October 31, 2017    Accepted: December 04, 2017    Published: December 15, 2017


Chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML) is characterized by increased and unregulated growth of predominantly myeloid cells in the bone marrow, and accumulation of these cells in blood. We investigated the effects of an anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin (DHA), on K562 CML cells. We identified 34 mRNAs and eight lncRNAs dysregulated following DHA treatment in pure and hemin-induced K562 cells. Up- or downregulation of these potential DHA targets increased with increasing DHA concentration. We also constructed and analyzed a DHA-related mRNA-lncRNA regulation network in K562 cells, and found that four DHA-modulated mRNAs regulated by four lncRNAs participated in the steroid biosynthesis pathway. Some estrogen-related drugs, such as tamoxifen, shared common targets with DHA. We inferred that DHA exerted anti-cancer effects on K562 cells by influencing estrogen levels. Our findings indicate that DHA has potential not only as an anti-malarial drug, but also as an anti-CML chemotherapeutic.

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