Epigenetic abnormalities are common in hematologic malignancies, including multiple myeloma, and their effects can be efficiently counteracted by a class of tumor suppressor miRNAs, named epi-miRNAs. Given the oncogenic role of histone deacetylases (HDAC) in multiple myeloma, we investigated whether their activity could be antagonized by miR-29b, a well-established epi-miRNA. We demonstrated here that miR-29b specifically targets HDAC4 and highlighted that both molecules are involved in a functional loop. In fact, silencing of HDAC4 by shRNAs inhibited multiple myeloma cell survival and migration and triggered apoptosis and autophagy, along with the induction of miR-29b expression by promoter hyperacetylation, leading to the downregulation of prosurvival miR-29b targets (SP1, MCL-1). Moreover, treatment with the pan-HDAC inhibitor SAHA upregulated miR-29b, overcoming the negative control exerted by HDAC4. Importantly, overexpression or inhibition of miR-29b, respectively, potentiated or antagonized SAHA activity on multiple myeloma cells, as also shown in vivo by a strong synergism between miR-29b synthetic mimics and SAHA in a murine xenograft model of human multiple myeloma. Altogether, our results shed light on a novel epigenetic circuitry regulating multiple myeloma cell growth and survival and open new avenues for miR-29b-based epi-therapeutic approaches in the treatment of this malignancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research