Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 10 pp 14433—14455
Chronic alcohol exposure promotes HCC stemness and metastasis through β-catenin/miR-22-3p/TET2 axis
- 1 School of Basic Medical Sciences, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, Anhui, China
- 2 The First Affiliated Hospital of USTC, Division of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, Anhui, China
- 3 Department of Pulmonary Oncology, The Fifth Medical Center of Chinese PLA General Hospital, Fengtai, Beijing 100071, China
- 4 Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536, USA
- 5 Department of Pathology, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
Received: September 18, 2020 Accepted: March 13, 2021 Published: May 21, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203059
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Chen 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.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) patients usually have a high rate of relapse and metastasis. Alcohol, a risk factor for HCC, promotes the aggressiveness of HCC. However, the basic mechanism is still unclear. We used HCC cells and an orthotopic liver tumor model of HCC-LM3 cells for BALB/C nude mice to study the mechanism of alcohol-induced HCC progression. We showed that chronic alcohol exposure promoted HCC cells metastasis and pulmonary nodules formation. First, we identified miR-22-3p as an oncogene in HCC, which promoted HCC cells stemness, tumor growth, and metastasis. Further, we found that miR-22-3p directly targeted TET2 in HCC. TET2, a dioxygenase involved in cytosine demethylation, has pleiotropic roles in hematopoietic stem cells self-renewal. In clinic HCC specimen, TET2 expression was not only decreased by alcohol consumption, but also inversely correlated with miR-22-3p levels. Then, we demonstrated that TET2 depletion promoted HCC cells stemness, tumor growth and metastasis. Furthermore, we identified that β-catenin was an upstream activator of miR-22-3p. In conclusion, this study suggests that chronic alcohol exposure promotes HCC progression and β-catenin/miR-22-3p/TET2 regulatory axis plays an important role in alcohol-promoted HCC malignancy.