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C-myc/miR-150/EPG5 axis mediated dysfunction of autophagy promotes development of non-small cell lung cancer.


Rationale: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and treatment options are limited to mainly cytotoxic agents. Here we reveal a novel role of miR-150 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development and seek potential new therapeutic targets. Methods: The miR-150-mediated autophagy dysfunction in NSCLC cells were examined using molecular methods in vitro and in vivo. The upstream regulatory element and downstream target of miR-150 were identified in vitro and validated in vivo. Potential therapeutic methods (anti-c-myc or anti-miR-150) were tested in vitro and in vivo. Clinical relevance of the c-myc/miR-150/EPG5 axis in NSCLC was validated in human clinical samples and large genomics database. Results: miR-150 blocked the fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes through directly repressing EPG5. The miR-150-mediated autophagy defect induced ER stress and increased cellular ROS levels and DNA damage response, and promoted NSCLC cell proliferation and tumor growth. Knockdown of EPG5 promoted NSCLC cell proliferation, and attenuated the effects of miR-150. c-myc gene was identified as a miR-150 transcriptional factor which increased miR-150 accumulation, therefore pharmacologically or genetically inhibiting c-myc/miR-150 expression significantly inhibited NSCLC cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Both c-myc and miR-150 were significantly over-expressed in NSCLC, while EPG5 was down-regulated in NSCLC. Expression levels of these molecules were well correlated, and also well correlated with patient survival. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that c-myc/miR-150/EPG5 mediated dysfunction of autophagy contributes to NSCLC development, which may provide a potential new diagnostic and therapeutic target in NSCLC.

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