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miR-18a promotes cell proliferation of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells by increasing cylin D1 via regulating PTEN-PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling axis

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the lethal cancers with a high incidence rate in Asia. Cyclin D1 is overexpressed and plays an important role in the carcinogenesis of ESCC; however the mechanism of the deregulation of Cyclin D1 in ESCC remains to be determined. In the study, we found that miR-18a promotes the expression Cyclin D1 by targeting PTEN in eophageal squamous cell carcinoma TE13 and Eca109 cells. Transfection of miR-18a mimetics increased cyclin D1, while transfection of miR-18a antagomir decreased D1. Moreover, miR-18a-mediated upregulation of cyclin D1 was accompanied with downregulation of PTEN, which is a direct target of miR-18a, and increase of the phosphorylation of AKT and S6K1. In addition, pharmacologic inhibition of AKT or mTOR kinases abolished the increase of cyclinD1 by miR-18a, which was accompanied with decreased phosphorylation of RbS780 and inhibition of cell proliferation. Our results demonstrated the upregulation of miR-18a promoted cell proliferation by increasing cylin D1 via regulating PTEN-PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling axis, suggesting that small molecule inhibitors of AKT-mTOR signaling are potential agents for the treatment of ESCC patients with upregulation of miR-17-92 cluster.

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