Concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CCRT) is the predominant treatment in esophageal cancer, however resistance to therapy and tumor recurrence are exceedingly common. Elevated ERBB2/Her2 may be at least partially responsible for both the high rates of recurrence and resistance to CCRT. This receptor tyrosine kinase is upregulated in 10-20% of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues, and amplification of ERBB2 has been correlated with poor prognosis in esophageal cancer. Tissues from 131 ESCC patients, along with cell and animal models of the disease were used to probe the underlying mechanisms by which ERBB2 upregulation occurs and causes negative outcomes in ESCC. We found that overexpression of ERBB2 inhibited radiosensitivity in vitro. Furthermore, miR-193a-5p reduced ERBB2 expression by directly targeting the 3'UTR. Increased miR-193a-5p enhanced radiosensitivity and inhibited tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, low miR-193a-5p expression correlated with poor prognosis in ESCC patients, and ESCC patients with good CCRT response exhibited higher miR-193a-5p expression. Our data suggest that patients with high miR-193a-5p will likely benefit from CCRT treatment alone, however a combination of CCRT with Herceptin may be beneficial for patients with low miR- 193a-5p expression.
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