J Cancer 2022; 13(1):253-267. doi:10.7150/jca.65687 This issue
1. Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.
2. Department of General Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.
3. Department of Gastric Surgery, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Cetuximab is one of the most widely used monoclonal antibodies to treat patients with RAS/BRAF wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Unfortunately, cetuximab resistance often occurs during targeted therapy. However, the underlying epigenetic mechanisms remain unclear. Our previous study demonstrated that the exosomal transfer of urothelial carcinoma-associated 1 (UCA1) confers cetuximab resistance to CRC cells. The goal of this study was to elucidate the detailed role of UCA1 in cetuximab resistance in CRC and the underlying molecular mechanism.
Methods: In vitro and in vivo functional studies were performed to assess the role of UCA1 in cetuximab resistance in CRC cell lines and xenograft models. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to examine UCA1 localization and expression. Bioinformatics analysis was performed to predict the potential mechanism of UCA1, which was further validated by the dual-luciferase reporter assay and the RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assay. Cells treated with indicators were subjected to Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) and western blotting to investigate the role of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-mesenchymal-epithelial transition (c-MET) signalling in UCA1-mediated cetuximab resistance.
Results: We showed that UCA1 decreased CRC cell sensitivity to cetuximab by suppressing apoptosis. Mechanistic studies revealed that UCA1 promoted cetuximab resistance by competitively binding miR-495 to facilitate HGF and c-MET expression in CRC cells. Moreover, HGF was shown to attenuate the cetuximab-induced inhibition of cell proliferation by activating the HGF/c-MET pathway in CRC cells.
Conclusion: We provide the first evidence of a UCA1-miR-495-HGF/c-MET regulatory network involved in cetuximab resistance in CRC. Therefore, UCA1 has potential as a predictor and therapeutic target for cetuximab resistance.
Keywords: UCA1, cetuximab, metastatic colorectal cancer, miR-495, hepatocyte growth factor/c-MET signalling pathway