|Institution:||Università di Bologna|
|Full text PDF:||http://amsdottorato.unibo.it/6816/1/Bandini_Erika_tesi.pdf|
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a very aggressive tumor subtype characterized by the lack of expression of estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), due in the most of cases to an increased expression of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and hypermethylation in CpG islands, resulting in gene silencing. Furthermore, in ESR1- negative breast cancers, androgen receptor (AR) is highly expressed and some studies suggest that it can drive tumor progression and might represent a therapeutic target. A correlation between microRNAs, small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression, and DNMTs was investigated in a TNBC cell line to restore a normal methylation pattern of ESR1, leading to its re-expression and conferring again sensitivity to selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). miR-148A and miR-29B were found to be involved in the reduction of the expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3A and in a slight increase of ESR1 expression, but not at protein level. Then, we found a down-regulation of AR by miRs-7, -9, -27a, -27b, -29a, -29b, -29c, -127-3p, -127-5p and -376 at 48h post transfection and an up-regulation by miR-15a and miR-16 at every time considered. We concomitantly investigated a possible increase of Tamoxifen, Herceptin and Metformin sensitivity after AR silencing in MDA-MB 453 and T-47D cell lines. Cells seemed more sensitive when silenced for AR only in MDA-MB-453 at 24h post Tamoxifen treatment. Studies on Metformin have basically confirmed an increase of drug sensitivity due to AR silencing in both cell lines. Analysis of Herceptin showed how MDA-MB 453 samples silenced for AR have a slight decrease in the percentage of proliferating cells, demonstrating a possible increase in the response to treatment. These preliminary data provide the basis for further study of the modulation of the expression of AR by microRNAs and it will be interesting to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions.