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Volume 12 Supplement 1

Breast Cancer Research 2010

miR-433 overexpression attenuates the spindle assembly checkpoint response to paclitaxel

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Paclitaxel is a microtubule inhibitory chemotherapeutic drug that is increasingly used for the treatment of solid tumours. In vitro studies have demonstrated that attenuating the spindle assemble checkpoint (SAC) alters the post-mitotic responses to paclitaxel. Furthermore, the aberrant expression of a number of the SAC proteins, MAD2, BUBR1, and Aurora A kinase, are associated with poor patient prognosis. We have identified a microRNA, miR-433, that regulates the expression of MAD2. Overexpression of miR-433 in Hela cells induced downregulation of MAD2 mRNA and protein expression. We have also shown that Hela cells overexpressing miR-433 and treated with paclitaxel are no longer capable of cyclin B stabilisation, and thus have lost the ability to activate the SAC in response to paclitaxel. In addition, cell viability assays showed that Hela cells overexpressing miR-433 and treated with paclitaxel have an attenuated response to paclitaxel compared with microRNA scrambled controls. We have characterised the levels of miR-433, MAD2 gene expression and MAD2 protein levels in a cohort of ovarian cancer cell lines. Cell viability assays on this cohort revealed that responsiveness to paclitaxel is associated with high MAD2 protein expression and lower miR-433 expression. We hypothesise that the expression of miR-433 when deregulated in cancer leads to altered MAD2 expression and a compromised SAC, a key feature underlying drug resistance to paclitaxel. In a pilot study of paired human breast tumour and normal breast tissue samples we have shown that expression levels of miR-433 are elevated in cancer tissue. Targeting this microRNA in cancer may improve the efficacy of paclitaxel in treating breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

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Correspondence to F Furlong.

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  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Paclitaxel
  • Hela Cell
  • Cell Viability Assay
  • Ovarian Cancer Cell Line