Paclitaxel is a microtubule inhibitory chemotherapeutic drug that is increasingly used for the treatment of solid tumours. In vitro studies have demonstrated that attenuating the spindle assemble checkpoint (SAC) alters the post-mitotic responses to paclitaxel. Furthermore, the aberrant expression of a number of the SAC proteins, MAD2, BUBR1, and Aurora A kinase, are associated with poor patient prognosis. We have identified a microRNA, miR-433, that regulates the expression of MAD2. Overexpression of miR-433 in Hela cells induced downregulation of MAD2 mRNA and protein expression. We have also shown that Hela cells overexpressing miR-433 and treated with paclitaxel are no longer capable of cyclin B stabilisation, and thus have lost the ability to activate the SAC in response to paclitaxel. In addition, cell viability assays showed that Hela cells overexpressing miR-433 and treated with paclitaxel have an attenuated response to paclitaxel compared with microRNA scrambled controls. We have characterised the levels of miR-433, MAD2 gene expression and MAD2 protein levels in a cohort of ovarian cancer cell lines. Cell viability assays on this cohort revealed that responsiveness to paclitaxel is associated with high MAD2 protein expression and lower miR-433 expression. We hypothesise that the expression of miR-433 when deregulated in cancer leads to altered MAD2 expression and a compromised SAC, a key feature underlying drug resistance to paclitaxel. In a pilot study of paired human breast tumour and normal breast tissue samples we have shown that expression levels of miR-433 are elevated in cancer tissue. Targeting this microRNA in cancer may improve the efficacy of paclitaxel in treating breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Furlong, F., Prencipe, M., McGoldrick, A., McGettigan, P., Carney, D., Doyle, E., W Kay, E., & McCann, A. (2010). miR-433 overexpression attenuates the spindle assembly checkpoint response to paclitaxel. 35. Abstract from Conference on Breast Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom. https://doi.org/10.1186/bcr2532