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Metformin Increases the Chemosensitivity of Pancreatic Cancer Cells to Gemcitabine by Reversing EMT Through Regulation DNA Methylation of miR-663

OncoTargets and Therapy. 2020;Volume 13:10417-10429


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: OncoTargets and Therapy

ISSN: 1178-6930 (Online)

Publisher: Dove Medical Press

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology. Including cancer and carcinogens

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Gu Y

Zhang B

Gu G

Yang X

Qian Z


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Yuqing Gu, Bin Zhang, Guangliang Gu, Xiaojun Yang, Zhuyin Qian Pancreas Center, The Second Affiliated Hospital to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210003, People’s Republic of ChinaCorrespondence: Zhuyin Qian Email [email protected]: Pancreatic cancer is a devastating malignancy with poor prognosis. Metformin, a classic anti-diabetes drug, seems to improve survival of pancreatic cancer patients in some studies.Methods: Cell counting kit-8 assay was used to detect the BxPC-3 and MIAPaCa-2 cell viability after treatment with gemcitabine only or with different concentrations of metformin. The methylation state and expression level of miR-663 were detected by methylation analysis and RT-PCR. Dual-luciferase reporter gene analysis, Western blot and RT-PCR were used to confirm the target of miR-663. Moreover, xenograft experiment was also performed to validate the role of metformin in chemosensitivity in vivo.Results: We found that metformin increased the chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine, and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) progress caused by gemcitabine was suppressed by metformin. We further explored the possible molecular mechanisms and it was demonstrated that CpG islands of miR-663 were hypomethylated and relative expression level of miR-663 was up-regulated after treatment of metformin. miR-663, an important cancer suppressor miRNA, was confirmed to increase the chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells by reversing EMT directly targeted TGF-β 1. Moreover, we identified that metformin increased the chemosensitivity through up-regulating expression of miR-663.Conclusion: We demonstrated that metformin increased the chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine by reversing EMT through regulation DNA methylation of miR-663.Keywords: metformin, pancreatic cancer, epithelial-mesenchymal transition; EMT, DNA methylation, miR-663