Gene . 2019 Aug 20;710:178-185. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2019.05.050. Epub 2019 May 31.

MicroRNA-9 Enhanced Radiosensitivity and Its Mechanism of DNA Methylation in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Wei Wei  1 Zhuo Dong  1 Hui Gao  2 Yu-Yu Zhang  1 Li-Hong Shao  1 Lin-Lin Jin  1 Ya-Hui Lv  1 Gang Zhao  1 Yan-Nan Shen  1 Shun-Zi Jin  3

  • 1 NHC key Laboratory of Radiobiology, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.
  • 2 The First Hospital Affiliated to Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.
  • 3 NHC key Laboratory of Radiobiology, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China. Electronic address:


In order to improve the therapeutic effect of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it is critical to combine radiation and gene therapy. Our study found that the activation of microRNA-9 (miR-9) conferred ionizing radiation (IR) sensitivity in cancer cells. Furthermore, increased microRNA-9 promoter methylation level was observed after IR. Our study combined the IR and microRNA-9 overexpression treatment which leads to a significant enhancement in the therapeutic efficiency in lung cancer both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, it is plausible that microRNA-9 can be used as a novel therapeutic strategy of NSCLC. MTT assay was performed to detect the effect of microRNA-9 on the survival and growth of NSCLC cells. Flow cytometry results showed that microRNA-9 enhanced the apoptosis of NSCLC cells. Wound healing assay found that microRNA-9 can inhibit the migration of NSCLC cells and enhance the effect of radiation on the migration of NSCLC cells. In addition, bisulfate sequencing PCR was performed to analyze the methylation status of the microRNA-9 promoter. In order to determine the effect of microRNA-9 and its promoter methylation status on proliferation and radio-sensitivity in vivo, a subcutaneous tumor formation assay in nude mice was performed. Results have shown that microRNA-9 overexpression increased the radiosensitivity of A549 cells by inhibiting cell activity and migration, and by increasing apoptosis. In addition, the promoter methylation status of the microRNA-9 gene increased in response to ionizing radiation. Our study demonstrated that microRNA-9 enhanced radiosensitivity in NSCLC and this effect is highly regulated by its promoter methylation status. These results will help to clarify regulatory mechanisms of radiation resistance thus stimulate new methods for improving radiotherapy for NSCLC.

Keywords: DNA methylation; DNMT1; MicroRNA-9; NSCLC; Radiosensitivity.