Elevated miR-483-3p expression is an early event and indicates poor prognosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Inflammation has an important role in cancer development through various mechanisms. It has been shown that dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) that function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors contributes to tumorigenesis. However, the relationship between inflammation and cancer-related miRNA expression in tumorigenesis has not yet been fully understood. Using K19-C2mE and Gan mouse models that develop gastritis and gastritis-associated tumors, respectively, we found that 21 miRNAs were upregulated, and that 29 miRNAs were downregulated in gastric tumors in an inflammation-dependent manner. Among these miRNAs, the expression of miR-7, a possible tumor suppressor, significantly decreased in both gastritis and gastric tumors. Moreover, the expression of miR-7 in human gastric cancer was inversely correlated with the levels of interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α, suggesting that miR-7 downregulation is related to the severity of inflammatory responses. In the normal mouse stomach, miR-7 expression was at a basal level in undifferentiated gastric epithelial cells, and was induced during differentiation. Moreover, transfection of a miR-7 precursor into gastric cancer cells suppressed cell proliferation and soft agar colony formation. These results suggest that suppression of miR-7 expression is important for maintaining the undifferentiated status of gastric epithelial cells, and thus contributes to gastric tumorigenesis. Although epigenetic changes were not found in the CpG islands around miR-7-1 of gastritis and gastric tumor cells, we found that activated macrophage-derived small molecule(s) (<3 kDa) are responsible for miR-7 repression in gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, the miR-7 expression level significantly decreased in the inflamed gastric mucosa of Helicobacter-infected mice, whereas it increased in the stomach of germfree K19-C2mE and Gan mice wherein inflammatory responses were suppressed. Taken together, these results indicate that downregulation of tumor suppressor miR-7 is a novel mechanism by which the inflammatory response promotes gastric tumorigenesis.