Metastatic colon cancer is a major cause of deaths among colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Elevated expression of kallikrein 6 (KLK6), a member of a kallikrein subfamily of peptidase S1 family serine proteases, has been reported in CRC and is associated with low patient survival rates and poor disease prognosis. We knocked down KLK6 expression in HCT116 colon cancer cells to determine the significance of KLK6 expression for metastatic dissemination and to identify the KLK6-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) signaling networks in metastatic colon cancer. KLK6 suppression resulted in decreased cells invasion in vitro with a minimal effect on the cell growth and viability. In vivo, animals with orthotopic colon tumors deficient in KLK6 expression had the statistically significant increase in survival rates (P = .005) and decrease in incidence of distant metastases. We further performed the integrated miRNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression profiling to identify functional miRNA-mRNA interactions associated with KLK6-mediated invasiveness of colon cancer. Through bioinformatics analysis we identified and functionally validated the top two up-regulated miRNAs, miR-182 and miR-203, and one down-regulated miRNA, miRNA-181d, and their seven mRNA effectors. The established miRNA-mRNA interactions modulate cellular proliferation, differentiation and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in KLK6-expressing colon cancer cells via the TGF-β signaling pathway and RAS-related GTP-binding proteins. We confirmed the potential tumor suppressive properties of miR-181d and miR-203 in KLK6-expressing HCT116 cells using Matrigel invasion assay. Our data provide experimental evidence that KLK6 controls metastasis formation in colon cancer via specific downstream network of miRNA-mRNA effectors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research