Serum levels of miR-194 have been reported to predict prostate cancer recurrence after surgery, but its functional contributions to this disease have not been studied. Herein, it is demonstrated that miR-194 is a driver of prostate cancer metastasis. Prostate tissue levels of miR-194 were associated with disease aggressiveness and poor outcome. Ectopic delivery of miR-194 stimulated migration, invasion, and epithelial–mesenchymal transition in human prostate cancer cell lines, and stable overexpression of miR-194 enhanced metastasis of intravenous and intraprostatic tumor xenografts. Conversely, inhibition of miR-194 activity suppressed the invasive capacity of prostate cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistic investigations identified the ubiquitin ligase suppressor of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2) as a direct, biologically relevant target of miR-194 in prostate cancer. Low levels of SOCS2 correlated strongly with disease recurrence and metastasis in clinical specimens. SOCS2 downregulation recapitulated miR-194–driven metastatic phenotypes, whereas overexpression of a nontargetable SOCS2 reduced miR-194–stimulated invasion. Targeting of SOCS2 by miR-194 resulted in derepression of the oncogenic kinases FLT3 and JAK2, leading to enhanced ERK and STAT3 signaling. Pharmacologic inhibition of ERK and JAK/STAT pathways reversed miR-194–driven phenotypes. The GATA2 transcription factor was identified as an upstream regulator of miR-194, consistent with a strong concordance between GATA2 and miR-194 levels in clinical specimens. Overall, these results offer new insights into the molecular mechanisms of metastatic progression in prostate cancer. Cancer Res; 77(4); 1021–34. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Research Online (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received September 19, 2016.
- Revision received November 18, 2016.
- Accepted December 5, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.