• cyclin D1;
  • endometrioid endometrial cancer;
  • microRNA;
  • miR-503;
  • target gene

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional inhibitor regulators of gene expression that act by directly binding complementary mRNA and are key determinants of cancer initiation and progression. In this study, we revealed a role for the tumor-suppressor miRNA miR-503 in endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC) cells. The miR-503 expression level gradually decreases across normal endometrial tissues, endometrial tissues with complex atypical hyperplasia, and EEC tissues. A relatively high level of miR-503 in EEC tissues indicates a longer survival time in EEC patients. The expression of a cell cycle-associated oncogene encoding cyclin D1 (CCND1) was inversely correlated with miR-503 expression in EEC tissues and cell lines. CCND1 has a binding sequence of miR-503 within its 3′ untranslated region, and was confirmed to be a direct target of miR-503 by the fluorescent reporter assays. Increasing the miR-503 level in EEC cells suppressed cell viability, colon formation activity and cell-cycle progression, and the inhibited oncogenic phenotypes induced by miR-503 were alleviated by ectopic expression of CCND1 without the untranslated region sequence. Furthermore, in vivo studies also suggested a suppressive effect of miR-503 on EEC cell-derived xenografts. miR-503 increased in cell cycle-arrested EEC cells, and was restored to a normal level in EEC cells after cell cycle re-entry, while CCND1 displayed the opposite expression pattern. Collectively, this study suggested that miR-503 plays a tumor-suppressor role by targeting CCND1. Abnormal suppression of miR-503 leads to an increase in the CCND1 level, which may promote carcinogenesis and progression of EEC.