• Huang W, Yang Y, Wu J, Niu Y, Yao Y, Zhang J, Huang X, Liang S, Chen R, Chen S. (2019) Circular RNA cESRP1 sensitises small cell lung cancer cells to chemotherapy by sponging miR-93-5p to inhibit TGF-β signalling. Cell Death & Differentiation 1/19/2019.

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are novel RNA molecules that play important roles in chemoresistance in different cancers, including breast and gastric cancers. However, whether circRNAs are involved in the response to chemotherapy in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) remains largely unknown. In this study, we observed that cESRP1 (circular RNA epithelial splicing regulatory protein-1) expression was significantly downregulated in the chemoresistant cells compared with the parental chemosensitive cells. cESRP1 enhanced drug sensitivity by repressing miR-93-5p in SCLC. Cytoplasmic cESRP1 could directly bind to miR-93-5p and inhibit the posttranscriptional repression mediated by miR-93-5p, thereby upregulating the expression of the miR-93-5p downstream targets Smad7/p21(CDKN1A) and forming a negative feedback loop to regulate transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, cESRP1 overexpression and TGF-β pathway inhibition both altered tumour responsiveness to chemotherapy in an acquired chemoresistant patient-derived xenograft model. Importantly, cESRP1 expression was downregulated in SCLC patient tissues and was associated with survival. Our findings reveal, for the first time, that cESRP1 plays crucial a role in SCLC chemosensitivity by sponging miR-93-5p to inhibit the TGF-β pathway, suggesting that cESRP1 may serve as a valuable prognostic biomarker and a potential therapeutic target in SCLC patients.

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