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This article is the author’s final published version in Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 17, Issue 1, March 2020, Article number 23.

The published version is available at Copyright © Shastri et al.


Background: Metastatic cancer is incurable and understanding the molecular underpinnings is crucial to improving survival for our patients. The IGF-1/Akt signaling pathway is often impaired in cancer leading to its progression and metastases. Diet modification is known to alter the IGF-1/Akt pathway and affect the expression of microRNA involved in tumor initiation, growth and metastases. Liver metastases are one of the most common type of metastases in breast and colon cancer. In the present study, we looked at the effect of diet modification on the expression of microRNA in normal liver and liver with breast cancer metastases using in vivo model.

Methodology: 6-month-old C57BL/6 J mice were put on either an ad libitum (AL) diet, or 40% calorie restricted (CR) diet or were fasted for 24 h (FA) before sacrifice. MicroRNA array analysis, western blot and qRT-PCR were performed using liver tissue to compare the treatment groups. A breast cancer model was also used to study the changes in microRNA expression in liver of a group of BALB/c mice orthotopically injected with 4 T1 cells in the mammary fat pad, put on either an AL or 30% CR diet. Liver and primary tumor tissues were used to perform qRT-PCR to compare the treatment groups.

Results: MicroRNA array analysis showed significant changes in miRNA expression in both CR and FA conditions in normal liver. Expression of miR-29 and miR-30 family members was increased in both CR and FA. Western blot analysis of the normal liver tissue showed that CR and FA downregulated the IGF-1/Akt pathway and qRT-PCR showed that the expression of miR-29b, miR-29c, miR-30a and miR-30b were increased with CR and FA. Liver tissue collected from mice in the breast cancer model showed an increase in expression of miR-29b, miR-29c and miR-30b while tumor tissue showed increased expression of miR-29c, miR-30a and miR-30b.

Discussion: Members of the miR-29 family are known to target and suppress IGF-1, while members of the miR-30 family are known to target and suppress both IGF-1 and IGF-1R. In the present study, we observe that calorie restriction increased the expression of miR-29 and miR-30 in both the normal liver as well as the liver with breast cancer metastases. These findings suggest that dietary alterations may play a role in the treatment of liver metastasis, which should be evaluated further.

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