Resistance to tamoxifen is a major clinical challenge. Research in recent years has identified epigenetic changes as mediated by dysregulated miRNAs that can possibly play a role in resistance to tamoxifen in breast cancer patients expressing estrogen receptor (ER). We report here elevated levels of EMT markers (vimentin and ZEB1/2) and reduced levels of EMT-regulating miR-200 (miR-200b and miR-200c) in ER-positive breast cancer cells, MCF-7, that were resistant to tamoxifen, in contrast with the naïve parental MCF-7 cells that were sensitive to tamoxifen. Further, we established regulation of c-MYB by miR-200 in our experimental model. C-MYB was up-regulated in tamoxifen resistant cells and its silencing significantly decreased resistance to tamoxifen and the EMT markers. Forced over-expression of miR-200b/c reduced c-MYB whereas reduced expression of miR-200b/c resulted in increased c-MYB We further confirmed the results in other ER-positive breast cancer cells T47D cells where forced over-expression of c-MYB resulted in induction of EMT and significantly increased resistance to tamoxifen. Thus, we identify a novel mechanism of tamoxifen resistance in breast tumor microenvironment that involves miR-200-MYB signaling.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.