Hypoxia-mediated tumor progression is a major clinical challenge in human cancers including colorectal cancer (CRC). In addition, exosome-mediated transfer of miRNAs from cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) to cancer cells could promote tumor progression. However, the mechanisms by which hypoxia CAFs promotes CRC progression remain largely unknown. CAFs and normal fibroblasts (NFs) were isolated from CRC tissues and adjacent normal tissues. Next, exosomes were isolated from the supernatant of CAFs that cultured under normoxia (CAFs-N-Exo) and hypoxia (CAFs-H-Exo). RNA-sequencing was then performed to identify differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) between CAFs-N-Exo and CAFs-H-Exo. Compared with exosomes derived from normoxia CAFs, exosomes derived from hypoxic CAFs were able to promote CRC cell proliferation, migration, invasion, stemness and reduce the sensitivity of CRC cells to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). In addition, miR-200b-3p levels were dramatically decreased in exosomes derived from hypoxic CAFs. Remarkably, increasing exosomal miR-200b-3p in hypoxic CAFs reversed the promoting effects of hypoxic CAFs on CRC cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, miR-200b-3p agomir could inhibit CRC cell migration, invasion, stemness and increase the sensitivity of SW480 cells to 5-FU via downregulating ZEB1 and E2F3. Collectively, loss of exosomal miR-200b-3p in hypoxia CAFs could contribute to CRC progression via upregulation of ZEB1 and E2F3. Thus, increasing exosomal miR-200b-3p might serve as an alternative approach for the treatment of CRC.
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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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The present study was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LY18H160041, LY17H160064, LQ21H160042), the Funding Project of Health and Family Planning Commission of Zhejiang Province (2018KY217), and the Funding Project Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Zhejiang Province (2018ZA009).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Gong, W., Guo, Y., Yuan, H. et al. Loss of exosomal miR-200b-3p from hypoxia cancer-associated fibroblasts promotes tumorigenesis and reduces sensitivity to 5-Flourouracil in colorectal cancer via upregulation of ZEB1 and E2F3. Cancer Gene Ther (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41417-023-00591-5