Long non-coding RNA IQCJ-SCHIP1 antisense RNA 1 is downregulated in colorectal cancer and inhibits cell proliferation

Jia Zhang, Zehua Bian, Guoying Jin, Yuhang Liu, Min Li, Surui Yao, Jing Zhao, Yuyang Feng, Xue Wang, Yuan Yin, Bojian Fei, Xiaofeng Han, Zhaohui Huang


Background: IQCJ-SCHIP1 antisense RNA 1 (IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1) was a functional novel long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) revealed by our previous expression profile. In this study, we aim to investigate its clinical relevance and biological significance in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: We measured the expression levels of IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 in 86 paired CRC tissues using quantitative RT-PCR assay, and then analyzed its association with patient prognoses. Moreover, gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies were performed to examine the biological functions of IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1. Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) were used to elucidate potential mechanisms of IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 in CRC.
Results: More than 2-fold decreased expression of IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 was found in half of CRC tissues (53.5%, 46/86). IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 down-regulation was correlated with poor differentiation (P=0.025), advanced depth of tumor (P=0.022), lymphatic invasion (P=0.010), advanced tumor stage (P=0.006), and poor prognosis (P=0.0027) in CRC patients. The Cox proportional hazards model demonstrated that IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 expression was an independent prognostic factor for CRC (HR =0.247, 95% CI: 0.081–0.752, P=0.014). Moreover, knockdown of IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 promoted CRC cell proliferation through increasing cell cycle progression and impairing cell apoptosis. Additionally, bioinformatics analysis showed that differential expression genes in IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1-depleted CRC cells were enriched in the pathways of cell cycle, DNA replication, and p53.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that IQCJ-SCHIP1-AS1 has an indicative tumor suppressor role and appears to be a potential prognostic factor in CRC for the first time.