2018 Volume 246 Issue 2 Pages 107-120
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the main component of the tumor stroma and promote tumor progression through several mechanisms. Recent evidence indicates that small noncoding RNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs), play key roles in CAF tumor-promoting properties; however, the role of miRNAs in lung cancer-associated fibroblasts remains poorly defined. We characterized the differential miRNA expression profile of fibroblasts isolated from matched tumor front (F-CAFs), inner tumor (In-CAFs), and normal adjacent (NFs) tissues from four lung adenocarcinoma patients (ADs) using microarray analysis. Proliferation and invasion assays of A549 human lung cancer cells in the presence of conditioned medium from F-CAFs, In-CAFs or NFs were performed to assess tumorigenic properties. Ten identified candidate miRNAs in F-CAFs, In-CAFs and NFs from 12 ADs were then validated by RT-PCR. Both F-CAFs and In-CAFs enhanced the proliferation and invasion of A549 cells compared with NFs; moreover, F-CAFs showed a significantly stronger effect than In-CAFs. RT-PCR validation demonstrated three downregulated miRNAs in F-CAFs compared with NFs (miR-145-3p, miR-299-3p, and miR-505-3p), two in F-CAFs compared with In-CAFs (miR-410-3p and miR-485-5p), but no differentially expressed miRNAs between In-CAFs and NFs. Further target-gene prediction and pathway enrichment analysis indicated that deregulated miRNAs in F-CAFs showed significant associations with “pathways in cancer” (miR-145-3p, miR-299-3p and miR-410-3p), “Wnt signaling pathway” (miR-410-3p and miR-505-3p), and “TGF-beta signaling pathway” (miR-410-3p). Importantly, a tumor-promoting growth factor targeted by those miRNAs, VEGFA, was upregulated in F-CAFs compared with NFs, as judged by RT-PCR. In conclusion, deregulated miRNAs in F-CAFs are potentially associated with CAF tumor-promoting properties.