Kopp, Florian; Oak, Prajakta S.; Wagner, Ernst; Roidl, Andreas (2012): miR-200c sensitizes breast cancer cells to doxorubicin treatment by decreasing TrkB and Bmi1 expression.
In: PLOS ONE 7(11), e50469




Acquired resistance to classical chemotherapeutics is a major obstacle in cancer treatment. Doxorubicin is frequently used in breast cancer therapy either as single-agent or in combination with other drugs like docetaxel and cyclophosphamide. All these chemotherapies have in common that they are administered sequentially and often result in chemoresistance. Here, we mimicked this pulse therapy of breast cancer patients in an in vitro cell culture model, where the epithelial breast cancer cell line BT474 was sequentially treated with doxorubicin for several treatment cycles. In consequence, we obtained chemoresistant cells displaying a mesenchymal-like phenotype with decreased levels of miR-200c. To investigate the involvement of miR-200c in resistance formation, we inhibited and overexpressed miR-200c in different cell lines. Thereby, the cells were rendered more resistant or susceptible to doxorubicin treatment. Moreover, the receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB and the transcriptional repressor Bmi1 were identified as miR-200c targets mediating the drug resistance. Hence, we provide a mechanism of acquired resistance to doxorubicin that is caused by the loss of miR-200c. Along with this, our study demonstrates the complex network of microRNA mediated chemoresistance highlighting the challenges in cancer therapy and the importance of novel microRNA-modulating anticancer agents.