Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

MiR-339-5p inhibits breast cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro and may be a potential biomarker for breast cancer prognosis

Zheng-sheng Wu12, Qiang Wu1*, Chao-qun Wang1, Xiao-nan Wang3, Yan Wang1, Jing-jing Zhao2, Shan-shan Mao2, Gui-hong Zhang1, Nong Zhang2 and Xiao-chun Xu14

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, People's Republic of China

2 Department of Pathology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

3 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, People's Republic of China

4 Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2010, 10:542  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-542

Published: 9 October 2010



MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and carcinogenesis. Detection of their expression may lead to identifying novel markers for breast cancer.


We profiled miRNA expression in three breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and MDA-MB-468) and then focused on one miRNA, miR-339-5p, for its role in regulation of tumor cell growth, migration, and invasion and target gene expression. We then analyzed miR-339-5p expression in benign and cancerous breast tissue specimens.


A number of miRNAs were differentially expressed in these cancer cell lines. Real-time PCR indicated that miR-339-5p expression was downregulated in the aggressive cell lines MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-231 and in breast cancer tissues compared with benign tissues. Transfection of miR-339-5p oligonucleotides reduced cancer cell growth only slightly but significantly decreased tumor cell migration and invasion capacity compared with controls. Real-time PCR analysis showed that BCL-6, a potential target gene of miR-339-5p, was downregulated in MDA-MB-231 cells by miR-339-5p transfection. Furthermore, the reduced miR-339-5p expression was associated with an increase in metastasis to lymph nodes and with high clinical stages. Kaplan-Meier analyses found that the patients with miR-339-5p expression had better overall and relapse-free survivals compared with those without miR-339-5p expression. Cox proportional hazards analyses showed that miR-339-5p expression was an independent prognostic factor for breast cancer patients.


MiR-339-5p may play an important role in breast cancer progression, suggesting that miR-339-5p should be further evaluated as a biomarker for predicting the survival of breast cancer patients.