Research Paper Volume 11, Issue 19 pp 8183—8203

CircRNA Cdr1as functions as a competitive endogenous RNA to promote hepatocellular carcinoma progression

Yang Su1,2, *, , Xiurui Lv2,3, *, , Wei Yin4, *, , Lingling Zhou2,3, , Yilin Hu5, , Ang Zhou1, , FuZhen Qi1, ,

  • 1 Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, The Affiliated Huaian No.1 People’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Huaian, Jiangsu, China
  • 2 State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Center for Global Health, Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 3 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 4 Department of General Surgery, The Affiliated Huai'an Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Huaian, Jiangsu, China
  • 5 Research Center of Clinical Medicine, Nantong University Affiliated Hospital, Nantong, Jiangsu, China
* Equal contribution

Received: March 15, 2019       Accepted: September 21, 2019       Published: October 1, 2019
How to Cite

Copyright © 2019 Su et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide. Recent years, circular RNA (circRNA) have been shown to exert vital functions in the pathological progressions of many diseases. A growing number of evidences have identified the representative function of exosomal circRNAs in the physiological state of donor cells, which further induces cellular responses after captured by recipient cells. However, the contributions of circRNAs to HCC remain largely unknown. In vitro and in vivo regulatory roles of circRNA Cdr1as in proliferative and migratory abilities of HCC were evaluated by CCK8, EdU, Transwell and tumourigenicity assays, respectively. Results showed circRNA Cdr1as was highly expressed in HCC cell lines and tissues. Overexpression of circRNA Cdr1as greatly accelerated HCC cells to proliferate and migrate. Mechanistically, we found that Cdr1as could promote the expression of AFP, a well-known biomarker for HCC, by sponging miR-1270. Further studies showed exosomes extracted from HCC cells overexpressing circRNA Cdr1as accelerated the proliferative and migratory abilities of surrounding normal cells. In all, circRNA Cdr1as serves as a ceRNA to promote the progression of HCC. Meanwhile, it is directly transferred from HCC cells to surrounding normal cells via exosomes to further mediate the biological functions of surrounding cells.


HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; AFP: alpha-fetoprotein; EdU: 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine; ceRNA: competing endogenous RNAs.