Background: Increasing reports have revealed that dysregulated expression of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) is involved in pancreatic carcinoma progression. This study intends to explore the function and molecular mechanism of lncRNA HLA complex group 11 (HCG11) in pancreatic carcinoma.

Methods: The expression profiles of HCG11 in pancreatic carcinoma samples were detected by qPCR. Bioinformatics analysis was applied to detect the associations among HCG11/miR-579-3p/MDM2. The malignant properties of pancreatic carcinoma cells were measured by numerous biological assays. Xenograft model was exploited to detect the effect of HCG11 on tumor growth.

Results: A significant increase of HCG11 was occurred in pancreatic carcinoma samples. Knockdown of HCG11 suppressed the progression of pancreatic carcinoma cells. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that HCG11 upregulated MDM2 expression by competitively targeting miR-579-3p. The rescue assays showed that miR-579-3p reversed cell behaviors caused by HCG11, and MDM2 reversed cell properties induced by miR-579-3p. The Notch1 intracellular domain (NICD) and Hes1 protein levels were increased by overexpression of HCG11/MDM2. The tumor growth was suppressed after depletion of HCG11, followed by suppressing Ki67, PCNA and Vimentin expression, increasing TUNEL-positive cells and E-cadherin expression.

Conclusions: Our observations highlighted that HCG11 contributed to the progression of pancreatic carcinoma by promoting growth and aggressiveness, and inhibiting apoptosis via miR-579-3p/MDM2/Notch/Hes1 axis.