Improving gemcitabine sensitivity in pancreatic cancer cells by restoring mirna‐217 levels

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Chemoresistance is a major problem in the therapeutic management of pancreatic cancer, concurring to poor clinical outcome. A number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain resistance to gemcitabine, a standard of care for this malignancy, among which is included aberrant miRNA expression. In the current study, we investigated the role of miR‐217, which is strongly down‐regulated in cancerous, compared to normal, pancreatic tissues or cells, in sensitizing human pancreatic cancer cell lines to this drug. The low expression of miR‐217 in pancreatic cancer patients was confirmed in two gene expression datasets (GSE41372 and GSE60980), and the prognostic value of two target genes (ANLN and TRPS1), was estimated on clinical data from the Tumor Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Transfecting miR‐217 mimic in pancreatic cancer cells reduced viability, enhanced apoptosis, and affected cell cycle by promoting a S phase arrest in gemcitabine‐treated cells. Moreover, in drug‐exposed cells subjected to miR‐217 forced expression, a down‐regulation for several genes involved in cancer drug resistance was observed, many of which are cell cycle regulators, such as CCND1, CCNE1, CDK2, CDKN1A, CDKN1B, while others, such as ARNT, BRCA1, BRCA2, ELK1, EGFR, ERBB4, and RARA are involved in proliferation and cell cycle progression. Our results support the notion that miR‐217 enhances pancreatic cancer sensitivity to gemcitabine, mainly impairing cell cycle progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number639
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chemoresistance
  • MiRNA
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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