Circular RNA (circRNA) is a class of non-coding RNA whose functions remain mostly unknown. Recent studies indicate circRNA may be involved in disease pathogenesis, but direct evidence is scarce. Here we characterize the functional role of a novel circRNA, circCCDC66, in colorectal cancer (CRC). RNA-Seq data from matched normal and tumor colon tissue samples identified numerous circRNAs specifically elevated in cancer cells, several of which were verified by quantitative RT-PCR. CircCCDC66 expression was elevated in polyps and colon cancer and was associated with poor prognosis. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies in CRC cell-lines demonstrated that circCCDC66 controlled multiple pathological processes, including cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth. In-depth characterization revealed that circCCDC66 exerts its function via regulation of a subset of oncogenes, and knockdown of circCCDC66 inhibited tumor growth and cancer invasion in xenograft and orthotopic mouse models, respectively. Taken together, these findings highlight a novel oncogenic function of circRNA in cancer progression and metastasis.
- Received July 10, 2016.
- Revision received December 31, 2016.
- Accepted February 22, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.