MiR-182-3p targets TRF2 and impairs tumor growth of triple-negative breast cancer

Roberto Dinami, Luca Pompili, Eleonora Petti, Manuela Porru, Carmen D'Angelo, Serena Di Vito, Angela Rizzo, Virginia Campani, Giuseppe De Rosa, Alejandra Bruna, Violeta Serra, Miguel Mano, Mauro Giacca, Carlo Leonetti, Gennaro Ciliberto, Madalena Tarsounas, Antonella Stoppacciaro, Stefan Schoeftner, Annamaria Biroccio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The telomeric repeat-binding factor 2 (TRF2) is a telomere-capping protein that plays a key role in the maintenance of telomere structure and function. It is highly expressed in different cancer types, and it contributes to cancer progression. To date, anti-cancer strategies to target TRF2 remain a challenge. Here, we developed a miRNA-based approach to reduce TRF2 expression. By performing a high-throughput luciferase screening of 54 candidate miRNAs, we identified miR-182-3p as a specific and efficient post-transcriptional regulator of TRF2. Ectopic expression of miR-182-3p drastically reduced TRF2 protein levels in a panel of telomerase- or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT)-positive cancer cell lines. Moreover, miR-182-3p induced DNA damage at telomeric and pericentromeric sites, eventually leading to strong apoptosis activation. We also observed that treatment with lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) containing miR-182-3p impaired tumor growth in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) models, including patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDTXs), without affecting mouse survival or tissue function. Finally, LNPs-miR-182-3p were able to cross the blood–brain barrier and reduce intracranial tumors representing a possible therapeutic option for metastatic brain lesions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • miR-182-3p
  • target therapy
  • telomeres
  • TRF2
  • triple-negative breast cancer


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