Circular RNA Ataxin 7 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

According to a report in Thoracic Cancer, circular RNA ataxin 7 (circATXN7) has been shown to have a “promoting influence” on disease progression in patients with gastric cancers; However, the role of circATXN7 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unclear. Researchers, led by Dongliang Li, examined levels of circATXN7—as well as microRNA (miR)-7-5p, and profilin 2 (PFN2) mRNA—and found that circATXN7 increased the malignancy of NSCLC cells “through adsorbing miR-7-5p and upregulating PFN2.”

The investigators utilized quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to measure levels of circATXN7. Additionally, proliferation, apoptosis, metastasis, and invasion were analyzed with cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8), colony formation, 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU), flow cytometry, and transwell assays. Protein levels were assessed via western blotting (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC), while the relationship between circATXN7 or PFN2 and miR-7-5p was analyzed by dual-luciferase reporter and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) arrays.

Ataxin 7 Findings

In the article, the researchers reported that “circATXN7 and PFN2 were highly expressed in NSCLC, whereas miR-7-5p expression had the opposite trend.” Moreover, circATXN7 overexpression appeared to constrain apoptosis and promote proliferation, metastasis, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of NSCLC cells. Conversely, circATXN7 downregulation appeared to repress xenograft tumor growth in vivo. The authors inferred that “circATXN7 served as a miR-7-5p sponge, and circATXN7 regulated malignant behaviors of NSCLC cells through sponging miR-7-5p.” Finally, PFN2 overexpression reversed the inhibitory effects of miR-7-5p on NSCLC cell malignancy, while silencing of PFN2 reduced the malignancy-promoting effects of miR-7-5p.


In short, the authors concluded that circATXN7 “accelerated the malignancy of NSCLC cells in,” consistent with its observed impact in gastric cancer progression. The authors suggested that their findings offered “evidence to support circATXN7 as a target for NSCLC treatment.”

Find more research in the Lung Cancer Resource Center