MicroRNAs are differentially expressed in breast cancer cells and have been implicated in cancer formation, tumour invasion and metastasis. We investigated the miRNA expression profiles in the developing mammary gland. MiR-137 was expressed prominently in the developing mammary gland. When the miR-137 was over-expressed in the embryo, the mammary epithelium became thickened. Moreover, genes associated with mammary gland formation such as Tbx3 and Lef1 were not expressed. This suggests that miR-137 induces gland formation and invasion. When miR-137 was over-expressed in MDA-MB-231 cells, their ability to form tumours in adult mice was significantly reduced. These data support miR-137 decides epithelial cell behavior in the human breast cancer. It also suggests that miR-137 is a potential therapeutic target for amelioration of breast cancer progression.
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