Abstract

We investigated the role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) LOC146880 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). LOC146880 was significantly upregulated in ESCC tissues (n = 21) and cell lines compared to the corresponding controls. Higher LOC146880 expression correlated with poorer overall survival (OS) of ESCC patients. Moreover, CREB-binding protein (CBP) and H3K27 acetylation levels were significantly higher in the LOC146880 promoter in ESCC cell lines than in the controls. LOC146880 silencing inhibited in vitro proliferation, invasion, migration, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of ESCC cells. LOC146880 silencing also induced G1-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in ESCC cells. Bioinformatics analysis, dual luciferase reporter assays, and RNA immunoprecipitation assays showed that LOC146880 regulates FSCN1 expression in ESCC cells by sponging miR-328-5p. Moreover, FSCN1 expression correlated with activation of the MAPK signaling pathway in ESCC cells and tissues. In vivo xenograft tumor volume and liver metastasis were significantly reduced in nude mice injected with LOC146880-silenced ESCC cells as compared to those injected with control shRNA-transfected ESCC cells. These findings show that the LOC146880/miR-328-5p/FSCN1/MAPK axis regulates ESCC progression in vitro and in vivo. LOC146880 is thus a promising prognostic biomarker and potential therapeutic target in ESCC.