Department of Anesthesiology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address: [Email]
THOR, a highly conserved lncRNA, is potentially involved in various cancer development. However, its involvement in tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) remains unclear. The present study aims to explore the biological function and molecular mechanism of THOR in TSCC progression. The expressions of THOR and IGF2BP1 in TSCC tissues and adjacent non-cancerous tongue tissues (ANT) were examined through qRT-PCR. THOR levels were manipulated in TSCC cells to explore its function in cancer progression in vitro and in vivo, which were subsequently evaluated by CCK8, colony formation assay, flow cytometry, xenograft tumor assays. In situ hybridization, RIP and Western blot assay were performed to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms. We discovered that THOR and IGF2BP1 were dramatically upregulated in TSCC tissues. The expression of THOR is positively correlated with IGF2BP1 mRNA level. THOR mediated IGF2 expression via interacting with IGF2BP1, and affected the downstream MEK-ERK signaling pathway to regulate TSCC cells proliferation. THOR/IGF2BP1/IGF2-MEK-ERK axis regulated the proliferation of TSCC cells, implying that THOR would be a promising therapeutic target for TSCC patients.