Potential Anti-Metastatic Role of the Novel miR-CT3 in Tumor Angiogenesis and Osteosarcoma Invasion

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Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary bone tumor mainly occurring in young adults and derived from primitive bone-forming mesenchyme. OS develops in an intricate tumor microenvironment (TME) where cellular function regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs) may affect communication between OS cells and the surrounding TME. Therefore, miRNAs are considered potential therapeutic targets in cancer and one of the goals of research is to accurately define a specific signature of a miRNAs, which could reflect the phenotype of a particular tumor, such as OS. Through NGS approach, we previously found a specific molecular profile of miRNAs in OS and discovered 8 novel miRNAs. Among these, we deepen our knowledge on the fifth candidate renamed now miR-CT3. MiR-CT3 expression was low in OS cells when compared with human primary osteoblasts and healthy bone. Through TargetScan, VEGF-A was predicted as a potential biological target of miR-CT3 and luciferase assay confirmed it. We showed that enforced expression of miR-CT3 in two OS cell lines, SAOS-2 and MG-63, reduced expression of VEGF-A mRNA and protein, inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. Enforced expression of miR-CT3 also reduced OS cell migration and invasion as confirmed by soft agar colony formation assay. Interestingly, we found that miR-CT3 behaves inducing the activation of p38 MAP kinase pathway and modulating the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) proteins, in particular reducing Vimentin expression. Overall, our study highlights the novel role of miR-CT3 in regulating tumor angiogenesis and progression in OS cells, linking also to the modulation of EMT proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 9 2022


  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Osteoblasts/metabolism
  • Osteosarcoma/metabolism


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