MicroRNA-378a-3p prevents initiation and growth of colorectal cancer by fine tuning polyamine synthesis

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3 Scopus citations


Background: Inhibitors of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) are effective at preventing colorectal cancer (CRC). However, their high toxicity limits their clinical application. This study was aimed to explore the potential of microRNAs (miRNAs) as an inhibitor of ODC. Methods: miRNA array was used to identify dysregulated miRNAs in CRC tumors of mice and patients. Azoxymethane (AOM)/Dextran Sodium Sulfate (DSS) were used to induce CRC in mice. miRNA function in carcinogenesis was determined by soft-agar colony formation, flow cytometry, and wound healing of CRC cells. Mini-circle was used to deliver miRNA into colons. Results: MiRNA profiling identified miR-378a-3p (miR-378a) as the most reduced miRNA in CRC tumors of patients and mice treated with AOM/DSS. Pathway array analysis revealed that miR-378a impaired c-MYC and ODC1 pathways. Further studies identified FOXQ1 (forkhead box Q1) and ODC1 as two direct targets of miR-378a. FOXQ1 activated transcription of c-MYC, a transcription activator of ODC1. In addition to directly targeting ODC1, miR-378a also inhibited expression of ODC1 via the FOXQ1-cMYC axis, thereby inhibiting polyamine synthesis in human CRC cells. Phenotypically, by reducing polyamine synthesis, miR-378a induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation and migration of CRC cells, while disrupting the association of miR-378a with FOXQ1 and ODC1 offset the effects of miR-378a, suggesting that FOXQ1 and ODC1 were required for miR-378a to inhibit CRC cell growth. MiR-378a treatment robustly prevented growth of HCC by inhibiting polyamine synthesis in AOM/DSS mice. Conclusion: MiR-378a prevents CRC by inhibiting polyamine synthesis, suggesting its use as a novel ODC inhibitor against CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number192
JournalCell and Bioscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was in part supported by Research Scholar Grant (ISG-16-210-01-RMC) from the American Cancer Society.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Non-coding RNA
  • Ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor
  • c-Myc signaling

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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