Purpose The oncogenic miR-155 is upregulated in many human cancers and its expression is increased in more aggressive and therapy resistant tumors, but the molecular mechanisms underlying miR-155-induced therapy resistance are not fully understood. The main objectives of this study were to determine the role of miR-155 in resistance to chemotherapy and to evaluate anti-miR-155 treatment to chemosensitize tumors. Experimental Design We performed in vitro studies on cell lines to investigate the role of miR-155 in therapy resistance. To assess the effects of miR-155 inhibition on chemoresistance, we used an in vivo orthotopic lung cancer model of athymic nude mice, which we treated with anti-miR-155 alone or in combination with chemotherapy. To analyze the association of miR-155 expression and the combination of miR-155 and TP53 expression with cancer survival, we studied 956 patients with lung cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Results We demonstrate that miR-155 induces resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents in vitro, and that downregulation of miR-155 successfully resensitizes tumors to chemotherapy in vivo. We show that anti-miR-155-DOPC can be considered non-toxic in vivo. We further demonstrate that miR-155 and TP53 are linked in a negative feedback mechanism, and demonstrate that a combination of high expression of miR-155 and low expression of TP53 is significantly associated with shorter survival in lung cancer. Conclusions Our findings support the existence of a miR-155/TP53 feedback loop, which is involved in resistance to chemotherapy and which can be specifically targeted to overcome drug resistance, an important cause of cancer-related death.
- Journal Article