Pancreatic cancer (PC) remains one of the most lethal types of cancer in adults. The purpose of a recent study by researchers from Nanjing Medical University was to determine the role of miR-1271 in regulation of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells.

In their study, miR-1271 was identified to be significantly down-regulated in PC tissues by miRNA microarray. Also, an increase of EMT-regulators ZEB1 and TWIST1 expression level was observed to be accompanied by a decrease of miR-1271. Researchers showed that expression of miR-1271 was significantly down-regulated in PC tissues as compared with that in normal tissues. In addition, their results showed that miR-1271 expression levels were decreased while ZEB1 and TWIST1 expression levels were increased in detected PC cell lines.

Moreover, ectopic expression of miR-1271 suppressed and antagomiR-1271 promoted proliferation, migration, and invasion in SW1990 and PANC-1 cells. Bioinformatics coupled with luciferase and Western blot assays also revealed that miR-1271 inhibited expression of ZEB1 and TWIST1, which are master regulators of tumor metastasis.

This study first indicates that miR-1271 functions as a suppressor in regulating of pancreatic cancer EMT by targeting ZEB1 and TWIST1, and it promise as a therapeutic target and prognostic marker for metastatic pancreatic cancer.

miR-1271 was down-regulated in pancreatic cancer tissues and pancreatic cancer cell lines

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H. Liu, H. Wang, X. Liu, T. Yu (2016) miR-1271 inhibits migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition by targeting ZEB1 and TWIST1 in pancreatic cancer cells Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.02.096 [abstract]

Inhibiting the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells Preparation of microRNA Samples from biofluids