Indole-3-carbinol inhibits tumorigenicity of hepatocellular carcinoma cells via suppression of microRNA-21 and upregulation of phosphatase and tensin homolog.

Wang X, He H, Lu Y, Ren W, Teng KY, Chiang CL, Yang Z, Yu B, Hsu S, Jacob ST, Ghoshal K, Lee LJ
Biochim Biophys Acta 1853 244-53 01/01/2015


A major obstacle to successful treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is its high resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapy due to overexpression of multidrug resistance genes. Activation of the AKT pathway is known to be involved in chemoresistance in HCC; however, the underlying mechanisms modulating the AKT pathway by chemopreventive agents remain unclear. In the present study, we found that indole-3-carbinol (I3C) treatment for tumor cells repressed the AKT pathway by increasing the expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in HCC xenograft tumor and HCC cell lines. qRT-PCR data showed that the expression of miR-21 and miR-221&222 was significantly reduced by I3C in HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Reactivation of the AKT pathway via restoration of miR-21 was reversed by I3C. Ectopic expression of miR-21 mediated-accelerated wound healing was abrogated by I3C. Moreover, reducing the expression of miR-21 by anti-miR decreased the resistance of HCC cells to I3C. These results provide experimental evidences that I3C could function as a miR-21 regulator, leading to repression of the PTEN/AKT pathway and opening a new avenue for eradication of drug-resistant cells, thus potentially helping to improve the therapeutic outcome in patients diagnosed with HCC.

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