Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (2020-06-01)

Interplay between cancer cells and M2 macrophages is necessary for miR-550a-3-5p down-regulation-mediated HPV-positive OSCC progression

  • Ming-xin Cao,
  • Wei-long Zhang,
  • Xiang-hua Yu,
  • Jia-shun Wu,
  • Xin-wei Qiao,
  • Mei-chang Huang,
  • Ke Wang,
  • Jing-biao Wu,
  • Ya-Jie Tang,
  • Jian Jiang,
  • Xin-hua Liang,
  • Ya-ling Tang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 39, no. 1
pp. 1 – 18


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Abstract Background Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is increasing worldwide with typically higher grade and stage, while better prognosis. microRNAs (miRNAs) has been shown to play a critical role in cancer, however, their role in HPV-positive OSCC progression remains unclear. Methods miRNA microarray was performed to identify differentially expressed miRNAs. qRT-PCR and FISH were performed to determine the relative expression of miR-550a-3-5p. CCK-8, Flow cytometry, Wound healing, Cell invasion assays and xenograft experiments were conducted to analyze the biological roles of miR-550a-3-5p. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) generation, co-culturing of cancer cells with TAMs, Western blot, Dual-luciferase reporter gene assay, Immunohistochemistry and animal studies were performed to explore the mechanisms underlying the functions of miR-550a-3-5p. Results We identified 19 miRNAs differentially expressed in HPV-positive OSCC specimens and miR-550a-3-5p was down-regulated. The low expression of miR-550a-3-5p correlated with higher tumor size and nodal metastasis of HPV-positive OSCC patients. Then, we found that miR-550a-3-5p suppressed the migration, invasion and EMT of HPV-positive OSCC cells dependent on decreasing M2 macrophages polarization. Moreover, miR-550a-3-5p, down-regulated by E6 oncoprotein, inhibited M2 macrophages polarization by YAP/CCL2 signaling, which in turn abrogating EMT program in HPV-positive OSCC cells. In addition, in both xenografts and clinical HPV-positive OSCC samples, miR-550a-3-5p levels were inversely associated with YAP, CCL2 expressions and the number of M2 macrophages. Conclusions E6/miR-550a-3-5p/YAP/CCL2 signaling induces M2 macrophages polarization to enhance EMT and progression, revealing a novel crosstalk between cancer cells and immune cells in HPV-positive OSCC microenvironment.