Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 14 pp 14080—14091

CircRNA FGFR3 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition of ovarian cancer by regulating miR-29a-3p/E2F1 axis

Jing Zhou1, *, , Ze-Ning Dong2, *, , Bai-Quan Qiu3, *, , Ming Hu1, , Xiao-Qing Liang1, , Xing Dai1, , Dan Hong1, , Yu-Fang Sun1, ,

  • 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Forth Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang 330000, Jiangxi, P.R. China
  • 2 Xiangya Medical College, Central South University, Hunan 410008, P.R. China
  • 3 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang 330000, P.R. China
* Equal contribution

Received: November 25, 2019       Accepted: May 20, 2020       Published: July 15, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Zhou 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.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression after transcription. However, the specific function of circRNAs in ovarian cancer remains undetermined. Previous studies have demonstrated abnormal expression of circFGFR3 in several cancers. The present study was designed to reveal the roles of circFGFR3 in ovarian cancer (OC). CircFGFR3 expression in OC tissues and cells was detected by RT-qPCR. The effects of CircFGFR3 on OC cells were evaluated by transwell assay and CCK-8 assay. Finally, the underlying mechanism was further revealed by luciferase reporter assay and western blotting. Our results showed that circFGFR3 expression was higher in OC cells and tissues than in normal ovarian cells and adjacent normal tissues; in addition, in OC patients, a high level of CircFGFR3 was related to lower survival rates and higher recurrence rates than a low level of circFGFR3. CircFGFR3 overexpression promotes OC progression by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro. Mechanistically, circFGFR3 upregulates E2F1 expression by sponging miR-29a-3p, and the overexpression of E2F1 or the suppression of miR-29a-3p induces OC cell EMT. Therefore, circFGFR3 serves as a promoter of OC by inducing OC cell EMT via the miR-29a-3p/E2F1 axis and circFGFR3 may be a prognostic biomarker for OC patients.


OC: ovarian cancer; EMT: epithelial-mesenchymal transition; circRNAs: circular RNAs; FGFR3: fibroblast growth factor receptor 3; E2F1: E2F transcription factor 1; qRT-PCR: quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; RNase R: ribonuclease R; RIP: RNA immunoprecipitation; ceRNA: competing endogenous RNA.