Objective: An increasing number of studies have indicated that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we aimed to clarify the roles of RP11-295G20.2 in HCC progression and the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Results: Bioinformatics analyses based TCGA data suggested that RP11-295G20.2 was significantly upregulated in HCC tissues and increased RP11-295G20.2 expression level correlated with poor overall survival of patients with HCC. The results of RT-PCR further showed that RP11-295G20.2 was upregulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. Functionally, RP11-295G20.2 knockdown significantly inhibited the proliferation, colony formation, invasion and migration, but induced the apoptosis of HCC cells. In line with this, downregulation of RP11-295G20.2 in HCC lines markedly suppressed the tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, RP11-295G20.2 could upregulate CCNB1 through targeting miR-6884-3p. More importantly, our rescue experiments revealed that miR-6884-3p/CCNB1 axis was involved in RP11-295G20.2-meditated tumorigenic behaviors of HCC cells.

Conclusions: RP11-295G20.2 can contribute to HCC progression at least partly via the miR-6884-3p/CCNB1 axis, suggesting that RP11-295G20.2 may be a potential target for HCC therapy.

Methods: RT-qPCR was employed to examine the expression levels of RP11-295G20.2, miR-6884-3p, and CCNB1 in HCC tissues and cell lines. CCK8 assay, transwell assay, colony formation assay and flow cytometry analysis were performed to evaluate the biological function of RP11-295G20.2 in HCC cells. The xenograft tumor assay was used to assess the effect of RP11-295G20.2 on the in vivo growth of HCC cells. The luciferase reporter assay, RIP assay and Spearman's correlation analysis were performed to explore the potential mechanisms underlying the roles of RP11-295G20.2 in HCC progression.