Oncol Lett. 2020 Sep;20(3):2962-2968. doi: 10.3892/ol.2020.11821. Epub 2020 Jul 7.
A recent study reported that zinc finger protein (ZNF)281 is a tumor-suppressive long non-coding (lnc)RNA in glioma. The present study investigated the role of ZNF281 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). ZNF281 expression in paired cancer and non-cancerous tissues from patients with NSCLCs was analyzed by RNA extraction and reverse transcription-quantitative-PCR. A 5-year follow up on patients was performed to analyze the prognostic value of ZNF281 for NSCLC. Cell transfections of ZNF281 or phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) expression vector and microRNA (miR)-221 mimic were performed to analyze the relationship between ZNF281, miR-221 and PTEN. Cell apoptosis and proliferation were analyzed using Cell Counting Kit-8 and flow cytometry, respectively. In patients with NSCLC, expression levels of ZNF281 were significantly lower in cancer tissues compared with in non-cancerous tissues, and lower levels of ZNF281 expression in cancerous tissues predicted poor survival. In NSCLC cells, ZNF281 overexpression resulted in upregulated PTEN and downregulated miR-221 expression, whereas cells with miR-221 overexpression exhibited downregulated PTEN expression and unaffected ZNF281 expression. In addition, ZNF281 and PTEN overexpression resulted in accelerated cell apoptosis and inhibited the cell proliferation of NSCLC cells. Notably, miR-221 overexpression exhibited an opposite effect and attenuated the functions of ZNF281 and PTEN overexpression. Therefore, ZNF281 may upregulate PTEN via downregulation of miR-221 in NSCLC, resulting in inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and the promotion of apoptosis.