MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small genetic molecules that play an essential role in regulating many aspects of cancer cell behavior. When they performed a screening of the miRNA library, Dr. Tang and colleagues found that, surprisingly, only a few miRNAs are commonly deficient or not expressed in prostate cancer stem cells.
The team found that one specific miRNA molecule, miR-141, not only inhibited tumor growth but significantly retarded cancer metastasis in several preclinical prostate cancer models. Taken together with the findings from previous studies reporting the molecule’s powerful tumor-suppression capability, the current study demonstrates the potential of miR-141 as an inhibitor of prostate cancer cell invasion and metastasis, and suggests that synthetic miR-141 may be developed as a “replacement” therapeutic to target prostate cancer metastasis.
“This study represents the most comprehensive investigation to date of the role of the miR-141 molecule in regulating prostate cancer stem cells and their role in metastasis,” says Dr. Tang, senior author of the new study. “These preliminary findings suggest that miR-141 may suppress the metastatic cascade at an early stage and that the overexpression of miR-141 in prostate cancer cells results in less metastasis. Our observations provide a rationale for developing these targeted miRNA molecules into novel antitumor and antimetastasis replacement therapies.”