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Researchers Identify New RNA Molecule in Growth of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Researchers in Finland have identified a long noncoding RNA molecule that appears to promote progression and growth of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Veli-Matti Kähäri, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Turku, Finland, and colleagues, discovered that expression of the RNA molecule—named PRECSIT (p53-regulated carcinoma-associated STAT3-activating long intergenic non–protein-coding transcript), based on its expression and mechanism of action—is regulated by the tumor suppressor gene p53. Their findings were published in The American Journal of Pathology.

“PRECSIT may serve as a novel potential biomarker and therapeutic target in [cutaneous squamous carcinoma],” according to the study authors.

Dr. Kähäri and colleagues found that the expression of PRECSIT was upregulated in cutaneous squamous carcinoma compared with normal epidermal keratinocytes. Functional assays of cutaneous squamous carcinoma cells and analysis of tissue sections showed that PRECSIT expression seems to be downregulated by p53, a gene that is inactivated by mutations in most squamous cell carcinomas. Knockdown of PRECSIT inhibited the invasion of cutaneous squamous carcinoma cells in culture and suppressed tumor growth. Additionally, PRECSIT appears to promote the invasion of cancer cells by increasing the production of extracellular matrix–cleaving proteolytic enzymes—matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, MMP-3, MMP-10, and MMP-13—via the STAT3 signaling pathway.

“Although several long noncoding RNAs have been characterized in melanoma, the role of a long noncoding RNAs in keratinocyte cancers is poorly known,” explained the investigators.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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