Research Papers:

MicroRNA-199a and -214 as potential therapeutic targets in pancreatic stellate cells in pancreatic tumor

Praneeth R. Kuninty, Linda Bojmar, Vegard Tjomsland, Marie Larsson, Gert Storm, Arne Östman, Per Sandström and Jai Prakash _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:16396-16408. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7651

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Praneeth R. Kuninty1, Linda Bojmar2,3, Vegard Tjomsland2,4, Marie Larsson2, Gert Storm1,5, Arne Östman6, Per Sandström2, Jai Prakash1,6

1Department of Biomaterials, Science and Technology, Section: Targeted Therapeutics, MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, University of Twente, Twente, Netherlands

2Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA

4Department of Hepato-pancreato-biliary Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

5Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

6Department of Oncology-Pathology, Cancer Centre Karolinska, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska, Sweden

Correspondence to:

Jai Prakash, e-mail: j.prakash@utwente.nl

Keywords: pancreatic cancer, pancreatic stellate cells, miRNA, stroma, cancer-associated fibroblasts

Received: September 15, 2015     Accepted: January 29, 2016     Published: February 24, 2016


Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are the key precursor cells for cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in pancreatic tumor stroma. In this study, we explored miRNA as therapeutic targets in tumor stroma and found miR-199a-3p and miR-214-3p induced in patient-derived pancreatic CAFs and TGF-β-activated human PSCs (hPSCs). Inhibition of miR-199a/-214 using hairpin inhibitors significantly inhibited TGFβ-induced differentiation markers (e.g. α-SMA, collagen, PDGFβR), migration and proliferation. Furthermore, heterospheroids of Panc-1 and hPSCs attained smaller size with hPSCs transfected with anti-miR-199a/-214 compared to control anti-miR. The conditioned medium obtained from TGFβ-activated hPSCs induced tumor cell growth and endothelial cell tube formation. Interestingly, these inductions were abrogated in hPSCs transfected with anti-miR-199a or miR-214. Moreover, IPA analyses revealed signaling pathways related to miR-199a (TP53, mTOR, Smad1) and miR-214 (PTEN, Bax, ING4). Taken together, this study reveals miR-199a-3p and miR-214-3p as major regulators of PSC activation and PSC-induced pro-tumoral effects, representing them as key therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer.

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