Exosomes derived from gemcitabine-resistant cells transfer malignant phenotypic traits via delivery of miRNA-222-3p.
Mol Cancer. 2017 Jul 25 ;16(1):132. Epub 2017 Jul 25. PMID: 28743280
BACKGROUND: Although gemcitabine-based chemotherapy has been established as a core multimodal therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment, its clinical efficacy remains limited by the development of acquired resistance following tumor metastasis and relapse. In this study, we investigated how gemcitabine-resistant (GR) cells contribute to the development of NSCLC tumor malignancy via exosome-mediated transfer of microRNAs.
METHODS: We first studied the mechanism of exosome internalization via PKH-67 staining and an immunofluorescence assay, then confirmed our finding by transmission electron microscopy and western blot analysis. Candidate miRNAs were identified through microarray analysis. Thereafter, RT-PCR, MTS, Transwell and soft agar assays were performed to assess the role of exosomic miR-222-3p in vitro. A 3' untranslated region reporter assay was applied to identify the target of miR-222-3p. A lung metastasis mouse model was constructed to evaluate tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Finally, clinical samples were used for correlation analysis between exosomic miR-222-3p levels and patients' response to gemcitabine.
RESULTS: A549-GR-derived exosomes were internalized by receipt cells via caveolin- and lipid raft-dependent endocytosis, which allowed the transfer of miR-222-3p. Exosomic miR-222-3p enhanced the proliferation, gemcitabine resistance, migration, invasion, and anti-anoikis of parental sensitive cells by directly targeting the promoter of SOCS3. In addition, a higher level of exosomic miR-222-3p in sera usually predicted worse prognosis in NSCLC patients.
CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate that exosomic-miR-222-3p functions as a principal regulator of gemcitabine resistance and malignant characteristics by targeting SOCS3. The exosomic miR-222-3p level in sera may be a potential prognostic biomarker for predicting gemcitabine sensitivity in NSCLC patients.