Research Papers:

Exosome mediated miR-155 delivery confers cisplatin chemoresistance in oral cancer cells via epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Prathibha Kirave, Piyush Gondaliya, Bhagyashri Kulkarni, Rakesh Rawal, Rachana Garg _, Alok Jain _ and Kiran Kalia _

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:1157-1171. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27531

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Prathibha Kirave1,*, Piyush Gondaliya1,*, Bhagyashri Kulkarni1,*, Rakesh Rawal2, Rachana Garg1, Alok Jain1 and Kiran Kalia1

1 Department of Biotechnology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

2 Department of Life Science, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

* These authors contributed equally to this work and are first authors

Correspondence to:

Kiran Kalia,email: [email protected]
Rachana Garg,email: [email protected]
Alok Jain,email: [email protected]

Keywords: cisplatin chemoresistance; miRNA155; exosomes; oral cancer; apoptosis

Received: November 15, 2019     Accepted: March 03, 2020     Published: March 31, 2020


Cisplatin is used as chemotherapeutic drug for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). However, OSCC cells develop resistance following long-term cisplatin exposure. Resistance against cisplatin chemo-therapy is accredited to the process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which in-turn has been linked to tumor-recurrence. miRNA deregulation, a common event in cancer, plays contributory role in chemo-resistance. Exosomes acts as the natural cargo for miRNA and facilitates inter-cell communication in the tumor micro-environment. Hence, exosomal-mediated miRNA transference may play essential role in drug resistance and serve as a target for cancer-therapy. miR-155 upregulation in OSCC has been described, however, its relevance in the observed chemo-resistance is unclear and also, if exosomes have any role in miR-155 regulation remain elusive. In the present study, we document for the first time the critical role of exosomes in mediating increments in miR-155 expression in OSCC cells that have acquired cisplatin resistance (cisRes cells). Importantly, exosomal transfer from cisRes to the cisplatin sensitive (cisSens) cells was found to confer significant miR-155 induction in the recipient cisSens cells. Restoration of miR-155 expression in cisSens cells following miR-155 mimics treatment led to epithelial to mesenchymal transition, enhancements in their migratory potential as well as acquisition of resistant phenotype. Notably, similar augmentations in the migratory and chemo-resistant traits were seen upon delivery of exosomes from cisRes to the recipient cisSens cells. Overall, our findings establish the significance of exosomal-mediated miR-155 shuttling in the cisplatin-chemoresistance, commonly observed in OSCC cells, thereby providing rationale for targeting miR-155 signalling for oral cancer therapy.

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