Resistance to BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) is one of the major challenges for targeted therapies for BRAF-mutant melanomas. However, little is known about the role of microRNAs in conferring BRAFi resistance. Herein, we demonstrate that miR-200c expression is significantly reduced whereas miR-200c target genes including Bmi1, Zeb2, Tubb3, ABCG5, and MDR1 are significantly increased in melanomas that acquired BRAFi resistance compared to pretreatment tumor biopsies. Similar changes were observed in BRAFi-resistant melanoma cell lines. Overexpression of miR-200c or knock-down of Bmi1 in resistant melanoma cells restores their sensitivities to BRAFi, leading to deactivation of the PI3K/AKT and MAPK signaling cascades, and acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition-like phenotypes, including upregulation of E-cadherin, downregulation of N-cadherin, and ABCG5 and MDR1 expression. Conversely, knock-down of miR-200c or overexpression of Bmi1 in BRAFi-sensitive melanoma cells activates the PI3K/AKT and MAPK pathways, upregulates N-cadherin, ABCG5, and MDR1 expression, and downregulates E-cadherin expression, leading to BRAFi resistance. Together, our data identify miR-200c as a critical signaling node in BRAFi-resistant melanomas impacting the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, suggesting miR-200c as a potential therapeutic target for overcoming acquired BRAFi resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- BRAF inhibitor
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition