Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):48-58. doi:10.7150/ijbs.9969 This issue

Research Paper

Decrease of Let-7f in Low-Dose Metronomic Paclitaxel Chemotherapy Contributed to Upregulation of Thrombospondin-1 in Breast Cancer

Wei-Yang Tao1, 2, Xiao-Shuan Liang1, Yang Liu1, Chun-Yang Wang2, 3, Da Pang1✉

1. Department of Breast Surgery, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin, China;
2. Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Medicine Research (Harbin Medical University), Ministry of Education, Harbin, China;
3. Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.

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Tao WY, Liang XS, Liu Y, Wang CY, Pang D. Decrease of Let-7f in Low-Dose Metronomic Paclitaxel Chemotherapy Contributed to Upregulation of Thrombospondin-1 in Breast Cancer. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):48-58. doi:10.7150/ijbs.9969. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Low-dose metronomic (LDM) paclitaxel therapy displayed a stronger anti-angiogenic activity on breast tumors with fewer side effects. Upregulation of anti-angiogenic factor Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) accords for therapeutic potency of LDM paclitaxel, but its molecular mechanism has not been elucidated yet. microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as new important regulators of tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we hypothesize that miRNAs are involved in TSP-1 overexpression in paclitaxel LDM therapy of breast tumors. The miRNA profile of tumor tissues from control, LDM and MTD groups in 4T1 mouse breast cancer model was detected by microarray, and then verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Luciferase assay and western blot were employed to explore the mechanisms of miRNAs involved in this process. We found that let-7f, let-7a, miR-19b and miR-340-5p were reduced by >2 fold, and miR-543* and miR-684 were upregulated by at least 50% in paclitaxel LDM therapy. qRT-PCR verification revealed that let-7f level was reduced most significantly in LDM therapy. Computational prediction using TargetScan and miRanda suggested THBS1 which encodes TSP-1 as a potential target for let-7f. Luciferase activity assay further confirmed that let-7f may bind to 3'UTR of THBS1 gene and inhibit its activity. Moreover, forced expression of let-7f led to a decrease of TSP-1 at both mRNA and protein levels in MCF-7 cells. Contrastly, let-7f inhibition induced an increased expression of THBS1 mRNA and TSP-1 protein, but did not affect the proliferation and apoptosis of MCF-7 cells. Paclitaxel LDM therapy led to a decrease of let-7f and the elevation of TSP-1 protein expression in MCF-7 cells, while overexpression of let-7f may abolish LDM-induced the upregulation of TSP-1 in MCF-7 cells. In summary, let-7f inhibition contributed to the upregulation of TSP-1 in paclitaxel LDM therapy, independently of proliferation, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of breast cancer. This study indicates let-7f as a potential therapeutic target for breast tumor.

Keywords: let-7f, Thrombospondin-1, Low-dose metronomic paclitaxel therapy.