How exosomic microRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to the development of drug resistance in the context of the tumor microenvironment has not been previously described in neuroblastoma (NBL).
Coculture experiments were performed to assess exosomic transfer of miR-21 from NBL cells to human monocytes and miR-155 from human monocytes to NBL cells. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to assess miR-155 targeting of TERF1 in NBL cells. Tumor growth was measured in NBL xenografts treated with Cisplatin and peritumoral exosomic miR-155 (n = 6 mice per group) CD163, miR-155, and TERF1 levels were assessed in 20 NBL primary tissues by Human Exon Arrays and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Student's t test was used to evaluate the differences between treatment groups. All statistical tests were two-sided.
miR-21 mean fold change (f.c.) was 12.08±0.30 (P < .001) in human monocytes treated with NBL derived exosomes for 48 hours, and miR-155 mean f.c. was 4.51±0.25 (P < .001) in NBL cells cocultured with human monocytes for 48 hours. TERF1 mean luciferase activity in miR-155 transfected NBL cells normalized to scrambled was 0.36 ± 0.05 (P <.001). Mean tumor volumes in Dotap-miR-155 compared with Dotap-scrambled were 322.80±120mm(3) and 76.00±39.3mm(3), P = .002 at day 24, respectively. Patients with high CD163 infiltrating NBLs had statistically significantly higher intratumoral levels of miR-155 (P = .04) and lower levels of TERF1 mRNA (P = .02).
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These data indicate a unique role of exosomic miR-21 and miR-155 in the cross-talk between NBL cells and human monocytes in the resistance to chemotherapy, through a novel exosomic miR-21/TLR8-NF-кB/exosomic miR-155/TERF1 signaling pathway.