Purpose: miRNAs can act as oncomirs or tumor-suppressor miRs in cancer. This study was undertaken to investigate the status and role of miR-34b in prostate cancer. Experimental Design: Profiling of miR-34b was carried out in human prostate cancer cell lines and clinical samples by quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization. Statistical analyses were done to assess diagnostic/prognostic potential. Biological significance was elucidated by carrying out a series of experiments in vitro and in vivo. Results: We report that miR-34b is silenced in human prostate cancer and the mechanism is through CpG hypermethylation. miR-34b directly targeted methyltransferases and deacetylases resulting in a positive feedback loop inducing partial demethylation and active chromatin modifications. miR-34b expression could predict overall and recurrence-free survival such that patients with high miR-34b levels had longer survival. Functionally, miR-34b inhibited cell proliferation, colony formation, migration/invasion, and triggered G 0/G1 cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis by directly targeting the Akt and its downstream proliferative genes. miR-34b caused a decline in the mesenchymal markers vimentin, ZO1, N-cadherin, and Snail with an increase in E-cadherin expression, thus inhibiting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Finally we showed the antitumor effect of miR-34b in vivo. MiR-34b caused a dramatic decrease in tumor growth in nude mice compared with cont-miR. Conclusion: These findings offer new insight into the role of miR-34b in the inhibition of prostate cancer through demethylation, active chromatin modification, and Akt pathways and may provide a rationale for the development of new strategies targeting epigenetic regulation of miRNAs for the treatment of prostate cancer.
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