[Molecular Therapy] lncRNA ITGB8-AS1 functions as a ceRNA to promote colorectal cancer growth and migration through integrin-mediated focal adhesion signaling
Abstract: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play critical roles in tumorigenesis and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, functions of most lncRNAs in CRC and their molecular mechanisms remain uncharacterized. Here we found that lncRNA ITGB8-AS1 was highly expressed in CRC. Knockdown of ITGB8-AS1 suppressed cell proliferation, colony formation, and tumor growth in CRC, suggesting oncogenic roles of ITGB8-AS1. Transcriptomic analysis followed by KEGG analysis revealed that focal adhesion signaling was the most significantly enriched pathway for genes positively regulated by ITGB8-AS1. Consistently, knockdown of ITGB8-AS1 attenuated the phosphorylation of SRC, ERK, and p38 MAPK. Mechanistically, ITGB8-AS1 could sponge miR-33b-5p and let-7c-5p/let-7d-5p to regulate the expression of integrin family genes ITGA3 and ITGB3, respectively, in the cytosol of cells. Targeting ITGB8-AS1 using antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) markedly reduced cell proliferation and tumor growth in CRC, indicating the therapeutic potential of ITGB8-AS1 in CRC. Furthermore, ITGB8-AS1 was easily detected in plasma of CRC patients, which was positively correlated with differentiation and TNM stage, as well as plasma levels of ITGA3 and ITGB3. In conclusion, ITGB8-AS1 functions as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) to regulate cell proliferation and tumor growth of CRC via regulating focal adhesion signaling. Targeting ITGB8-AS1 is effective in suppressing CRC cell growth and tumor growth. Elevated plasma levels of ITGB8-AS1 were detected in advanced-stage CRC. Thus, ITGB8-AS1 could serve as a potential therapeutic target and circulating biomarker in CRC.