Backgrounds: Emerging evidences has demonstrated that dysregulation of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) is critically involved in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) progression. However, the function of lncRNA PSMA3-AS1 in ESCC is unclear. Therefore, we aimed to explore the functions and potential mechanisms of PSMA3-AS1 in ESCC cells progression.

Results: Here, we found that PSMA3-AS1 expression was significantly up-regulated in ESCC tissues. Forced PSMA3-AS1 expression was correlated with tumor size, distant metastasis, and poor prognosis in ESCC patients. Functionally, PSMA3-AS1-overexpression promoted ESCC cells proliferation, invasion, and migration in vitro. Mechanistically, PSMA3-AS1 up-regulated EZH2 expression by competitively binding to miR-101.

Conclusion: PSMA3-AS1 is significantly up-regulated in ESCC tissues, and the PSMA3-AS1/miR-101/EZH2 axis plays a critical role in ESCC progression. Taken together, our results may provide promising targets for ESCC therapy.

Methods: PSMA3-AS1 and miR-101 expression were explored using qRT-PCR in ESCC tissues and cell lines. Immunohistochemistry assays were carried out to analyze EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog) protein expression. RIP, dual-luciferase reporter, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and biotin pull-down assays were used to detect the interactions of PSMA3-AS1, miR-101 and EZH2. The biological functions of PSMA3-AS1 in PSMA3-AS1-altered cells were explored using CCK-8, colony formation, wound healing, and transwell assays in vitro.