Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 17 pp 17343—17352

High hsa_circ_0020123 expression indicates poor progression to non-small cell lung cancer by regulating the miR-495/HOXC9 axis

Rui Bi1, *, , Wei Wei2, *, , Yunhui Lu3, *, , Fengqing Hu1, , Xuhui Yang1, , Yuan Zhong1, , Lifei Meng1, , Mingsong Wang1, , Lianyong Jiang1, , Xiao Xie1, ,

  • 1 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, China
  • 2 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing 210002, China
  • 3 Department of Nephrology, Changzheng Hospital, Shanghai 200003, China
* Equal contribution

Received: May 19, 2020       Accepted: June 28, 2020       Published: September 14, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Bi 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) belong to non-protein-coding RNAs that regulate different pathophysiological procedures. Upregulation of hsa_circ_0020123 is found in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, its activity and functions are not clear. In this study, the results showed that hsa_circ_0020123 expression increased in both tumor tissues and NSCLC cells. A higher hsa_circ_0020123 expression also led to poor prognoses among NSCLC patients assayed via FISH. The data of FISH also confirmed that hsa_circ_0020123 primarily had a cytoplasmic location. Hsa_circ_0020123 knockdown caused a significant decrease in nude mouse xenograft growth. Bioinformatics analyses and dual luciferase reporter assays confirmed that hsa_circ_0020123 was an miR-495 sponge and that the HOXC9 gene was a miR-495 target. The miR-495 downregulation reversed cell migration and proliferation inhibition induced by hsa_circ_0020123 silencing in vitro. HOXC9 overexpression reversed miR-495-induced inhibition of cell migration and proliferation. The dual luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that hsa_circ_0020123 interacted with miR-495 by binding to the HOXC9 3′-UTR to suppresses post-transcriptional HOXC9 expression. Taken together, our study found that hsa_circ_0020123 functioned like a tumor promoter via a novel hsa_circ_0020123/miR-495/HOXC9 axis, highlighting its possibility as a new NSCLC therapeutic target.


circRNAs: Circular RNAs; NSCLC: non-small cell lung cancer; siRNA: small interfering RNA; FBS: fetal bovine serum; CCK-8: Cell Counting Kit-8; qRT-PCR: quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction; FISH: fluorescence in situ hybridization.