J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 14;39(1):186. doi: 10.1186/s13046-020-01697-6.
BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer (BC) is a common genitourinary malignancy worldwide. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) participate in cancer development, including BC; thus, the roles of circRNAs in this process have attracted significant attention.
METHODS: In this study, high-throughput sequencing was used to analyze circRNA expression profiles in BC tissues. We performed RT-qPCR to determine hsa_circ_0001944 expression in BC tissues. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to detect hsa_circ_0001944 expression and hsa_circ_0001944 subcellular localization in BC tissues. hsa_circ_0001944 expression in BC cells was selectively regulated. We employed CCK8, transwell, and wound healing assays to monitor cell proliferation, invasion, and migration, respectively. We employed the dual-luciferase reporter and RNA pulldown assays to verify the relationships among hsa_circ_0001944, miR-548, and PROK2. We examined the effects of hsa_circ_0001944 on BC cell metastasis and proliferation in vivo using a subcutaneous xenograft model and an intravenous tail injection model in nude mice.
RESULTS: The results showed that hsa_circ_0001944 expression was significantly increased in BC samples. Furthermore, high hsa_circ_0001944 expression predicted unfavorable prognoses in BC. Functional assays validated that downregulating hsa_circ_0001944 decreased BC invasion and proliferation in vivo and in vitro. Further studies showed that hsa_circ_0001944 expression promoted BC progression via sponging miR-548 and enhancing PROK2 expression. Luciferase reporter experiments validated the interactions between hsa_circ_0001944, miR-548, and PROK2. This study also found that downregulating miR-548 or overexpressing PROK2 restored BC cell invasion and proliferation after silencing hsa_circ_0001944.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, we found that hsa_circ_0001944 is a tumor-promoting circRNA in BC that functions as a competing endogenous RNA to regulate PROK2 expression via sponging miR-548.