Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy has greatly improved lung cancer survival in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. However, the development of TKI-acquired resistance is the major problem to be overcome. In this study, we found that miR-196a expression was greatly induced in gefitinib-resistant lung cancer cells. To understand the role and mechanism of miR-196a in TKI resistance, we found that miR-196a-forced expression alone increased cell resistance to gefitinib treatment in vitro and in vivo by inducing cell proliferation and inhibiting cell apoptosis. We identified the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) bound to the promoter region of miR-196a and induced miR-196a expression at the transcriptional level. NRF2-forced expression also significantly increased expression levels of miR-196a, and was an upstream inducer of miR-196a to mediate gefitinib resistance. We also found that glycolipid transfer protein (GLTP) was a functional direct target of miR-196a, and downregulation of GLTP by miR-196a was responsible for gefitinib resistance. GLTP overexpression alone was sufficient to increase the sensitivity of lung cancer cells to gefitinib treatment. Our studies identified a new role and mechanism of NRF2/miR-196a/GLTP pathway in TKI resistance and lung tumor development, which may be used as a new biomarker (s) for TKI resistance or as a new therapeutic target in the future.
Liu, Bing-Jie; Li, Fang-Fang; Xie, Yun-Xia; Fan, Chong-Yuan; Liu, Wen-Jing; Qiu, Jian-Ge; and Jiang, Bing-Hua, "miR-196a Upregulation Contributes to Gefitinib Resistance through Inhibiting GLTP Expression" (2022). Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 349.
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