Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 201–209 | Cite as

MiR-491 attenuates cancer stem cells-like properties of hepatocellular carcinoma by inhibition of GIT-1/NF-κB-mediated EMT

  • Xiaojun Yang
  • Jing Ye
  • Han Yan
  • Zhaoyang Tang
  • Jian Shen
  • Jianping ZhangEmail author
  • Lihua YangEmail author
Research Article


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver malignancy. Current standard practices for treatment of HCC are less than satisfactory because of CSCs-mediated recurrence. For this reason, targeting CSCs, or cancer cells with CSCs-like properties, is a new approach for HCC treatment. As we reported previously, microRNA-491 (miR-491) is lower expressed in poorly differentiated HCC tissues relative to well-differentiated HCC tissues. Here, we further evaluate the effects of miR-491 on the CSCs-like properties by using HCC cell lines and HCC tissue samples. Our data showed that miR-491 had a negative relationship with CSCs-like properties both in cell lines and tissue samples of HCC. Further, miR-491 levels of non-recurrence HCC tissues were higher than those of recurrence HCC tissues. In HCC cell lines, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB)/snail pathway was involved in the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and the maintenance of CSCs-like properties. Overexpression of miR-491 targeted G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein 1 (GIT-1), which blocked the activation of NF-κB by the inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs). Such process attenuated the CSCs-like properties in HCC cells. Our results point to a previously undefined mechanism by which miR-491 decreases CSCs-like properties and help to identify potential targets for the therapy of HCCs.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Cancer stem cells-like properties Epithelial to mesenchymal transition microRNA-491 G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein 1 Nuclear factor kappa B 



The authors wish to thank Donald L. Hill (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA) for editing. This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundations of China (81272713, 81100253, and 81273114).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare they have no competing financial interests. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

13277_2015_3687_MOESM1_ESM.docx (376 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 375 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Surgery, The Second Affiliated HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Gastroenterology, The Second Affiliated HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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