MicroRNA-34a functions as a potential tumor suppressor by inducing apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells

C. Welch, Y. Chen, R. L. Stallings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    722 Scopus citations


    Neuroblastoma (NB) is one of the most common forms of cancer in children, accounting for 15% of pediatric cancer deaths. The clinical course of these tumors is highly variable and is dependent on such factors as age at presentation, stage, ploidy and genomic abnormalities. Hemizygous deletion of chromosome 1p occurs in approximately 30% of advanced stage tumors, is associated with a poor prognosis, and likely leads to the loss of one or more tumor suppressor genes. We show here that microRNA (miRNA)-34a (1p36.23) is generally expressed at lower levels in unfavorable primary NB tumors and cell lines relative to normal adrenal tissue and that reintroduction of this miRNA into three different NB cell lines causes a dramatic reduction in cell proliferation through the induction of a caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway. As a potential mechanistic explanation for this observation, we demonstrate that miR-34a directly targets the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) encoding E2F3 and significantly reduces the levels of E2F3 protein, a potent transcriptional inducer of cell-cycle progression. Furthermore, miR-34a expression increases during retinoic acid-induced differentiation of the SK-N-BE cell line, whereas E2F3 protein levels decrease. Thus, adding to the increasing role of miRNAs in cancer, miR-34a may act as a suppressor of NB tumorgenesis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)5017-5022
    Number of pages6
    Issue number34
    StatePublished - Jul 26 2007


    • Apoptosis
    • CGH
    • E2F3
    • MicroRNA
    • Neuroblastoma
    • Tumour suppressors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cancer Research


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