Background: Osteosarcoma (OS) is one of the most common primary bone tumors in children and adolescents. However, the molecular mechanism of OS tumorigenesis is still little known. Circular RNA (circRNA) is a key player in the progression of many cancers. This study is performed to decipher the role and mechanism of circ_0008259 in the progression of OS.

Methods: A differentially expressed circRNA, circ_0008259, was screened out by analyzing the expression profile of circRNA in OS tissue. Circ_0008259, miR-21-5p and programmable cell death 4 (PDCD4) mRNA expression levels in OS tissues and cells were detected by qRT-PCR. Cell viability, metastatic potential and apoptosis were evaluated by cell counting kit-8 assay, Transwell and flow cytometry. The targeting relationship between circ_0008259 and miR-21-5p, and miR-21-5p and PDCD4 mRNA was analyzed and probed by bioinformatics analysis and dual-luciferase reporter assay, RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation assay and RNA-pull down assay. The regulatory effects of circ_0008259 and miR-21-5p on PDCD4 protein expression in OS cells were detected by Western blot assay.

Results: Circ_0008259 expression and PDCD4 expression were down-regulated and miR-21-5p expression was elevated in the OS tissues and cells. Functional experiments showed that circ_0008259 overexpression significantly inhibited the proliferation and metastatic potential of OS cells and promoted the apoptosis. Besides, PDCD4 was validated as the target gene of miR-21-5p, and circ_0008259 could competitively bind to miR-21-5p, thus up-regulating PDCD4 expression in OS cells.

Conclusions: Circ_0008259 suppresses OS progression via regulating miR-21-5p/PDCD4 axis.