miR-375 induces docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer by targeting SEC23A and YAP1

Yuan Wang, Rachel Lieberman, Jing Pan, Qi Zhang, Meijun Du, Peng Zhang, Marja Nevalainen, Manish Kohli, Niraj K. Shenoy, Hui Meng, Ming You, Liang Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment options for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are limited and typically are centered on docetaxel-based chemotherapy. We previously reported that elevated miR-375 levels were significantly associated with poor overall survival of mCRPC patients. In this study, we evaluated if miR-375 induced chemo-resistance to docetaxel through regulating target genes associated with drug resistance. Methods: We first compared miR-375 expression level between prostate cancer tissues and normal prostate tissues using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). To examine the role of miR-375 in docetaxel resistance, we transfected miR-375 using a pre-miRNA lentiviral vector and examined the effects of exogenously overexpressed miR-375 on cell growth in two prostate cancer cell lines, DU145 and PC-3. To determine the effect of overexpressed miR-375 on tumor growth and chemo-resistance in vivo, we injected prostate cancer cells overexpressing miR-375 into nude mice subcutaneously and evaluated tumor growth rate during docetaxel treatment. Lastly, we utilized qRT-PCR and Western blot assay to examine two miR-375 target genes, SEC23A and YAP1, for their expression changes after miR-375 transfection. Results: By examining 495 tumor tissues and 52 normal tissues from TCGA data, we found that compared to normal prostate, miR-375 was significantly overexpressed in prostate cancer tissues (8.45-fold increase, p value=1.98E-23). Docetaxel treatment induced higher expression of miR-375 with 5.83- and 3.02-fold increases in DU145 and PC-3 cells, respectively. Interestingly, miR-375 appeared to play a dual role in prostate cancer proliferation. While miR-375 overexpression caused cell growth inhibition and cell apoptosis, elevated miR-375 also significantly reduced cell sensitivity to docetaxel treatment in vitro, as evidenced by decreased apoptotic cells. In vivo xenograft mouse study showed that tumors with increased miR-375 expression were more tolerant to docetaxel treatment, demonstrated by greater tumor weight and less apoptotic cells in miR-375 transfected group when compared to empty vector control group. In addition, we examined expression levels of the two miR-375 target genes (SEC23A and YAP1) and observed significant reduction in the expression at both protein and mRNA levels in miR-375 transfected prostate cancer cell lines. TCGA dataset analysis further confirmed the negative correlations between miR-375 and the two target genes (r=-0.62 and -0.56 for SEC23A and YAP1, respectively; p<0.0001). Conclusions: miR-375 is involved in development of chemo-resistance to docetaxel through regulating SEC23A and YAP1 expression. Our results suggest that miR-375 or its target genes, SEC23A or YAP1, might serve as potential predictive biomarkers to docetaxel-based chemotherapy and/or therapeutic targets to overcome chemo-resistance in mCRPC stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 10 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Docetaxel resistance
  • Prostate cancer
  • SEC23A
  • YAP1
  • miR-375

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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