Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant bone tumor in children, and microRNA-34a (miR-34a) replacement therapy represents a new treatment strategy. This study was to define the effectiveness and safety profiles of a novel bioengineered miR-34a prodrug in orthotopic OS xenograft tumor mouse model. Highly purified pre-miR-34a prodrug significantly inhibited the proliferation of human 143B and MG-63 cells in a dose dependent manner and to much greater degrees than controls, which was attributed to induction of apoptosis and G2 cell cycle arrest. Inhibition of OS cell growth and invasion were associated with release of high levels of mature miR-34a from pre-miR-34a prodrug and consequently reduction of protein levels of many miR-34a target genes including SIRT1, BCL2, c-MET, and CDK6. Furthermore, intravenous administration of in vivo-jetPEI formulated miR-34a prodrug significantly reduced OS tumor growth in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. In addition, mouse blood chemistry profiles indicated that therapeutic doses of bioengineered miR-34a prodrug were well tolerated in these animals. The results demonstrated that bioengineered miR-34a prodrug was effective to control OS tumor growth which involved the induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, supporting the development of bioengineered RNAs as a novel class of large molecule therapeutic agents.
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