EBV encoded miRNA BART8-3p promotes radioresistance in nasopharyngeal carcinoma by regulating ATM/ATR signaling pathway

Resistance to radiotherapy is one of the main causes of treatment failure in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is an important factor in the pathogenesis of NPC, and EBV-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) promote NPC progression. However, the role of EBV-encoded miRNAs in the radiosensitivity of NPC remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of EBV-miR-BART8-3p on radiotherapy resistance in NPC cells in vitro and in vivo, and explored the underlying molecular mechanisms. Inhibitors of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)/ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3-related (ATR) (KU60019 and AZD6738, respectively) were used to examine radiotherapy resistance. We proved that EBV-miR-BART8-3p promoted NPC cell proliferation in response to irradiation in vitro and associated with the induction of cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, which was a positive factor for the DNA repair after radiation treatment. Besides, EBV-miR-BART8-3p could increase the size of xenograft tumors significantly in nude mice. Treatment with KU60019 or AZD6738 increased the radiosensitivity of NPC by suppressing the expression of p-ATM and p-ATR. The present results indicate that EBV-miR-BART8-3p promotes radioresistance in NPC by modulating the activity of ATM/ATR signaling pathway.