Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common pathological type of lung cancer, is partly responsible for the increasing number of tumor-related deaths worldwide. This study aimed to explore the biological role of the anti-sense transcript of special AT-rich sequence binding protein 2 (SATB2-AS1), a novel cancer-related long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), and illustrate the potential molecular mechanisms.

Material and methods:
The expression patterns of SATB2-AS1 were determined via qPCR analysis in clinical samples and tumor cell lines. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was conducted to assess the relationship between SATB2-AS1 expression and survival time of NSCLC patients. NSCLC tumors were transfected with SATB2-AS1 expression vectors or specific short hairpin RNAs (sh-SATB2-AS1). Tumor cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and apoptosis were detected by MTT assays and the flow cytometric method. Nude mouse transplantation models were applied to investigate the effects of SATB2-AS1 on tumor cell growth in vivo. Bio-informatics analysis, luciferase reporter assays and rescue assays were performed to elucidate possible molecular mechanisms.

SATB2-AS1 up-regulation was observed in tumorous tissues and cell lines. Up-regulated SATB2-AS1 expression was associated with shorter overall survival time of patients. SATB2-AS1 over-expression facilitated tumor cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and survival, while its knockdown inhibited tumor cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and survival. SATB2-AS1 depletion suppressed tumor growth in vivo. SATB2-AS1 was revealed to act as a miR-299-3p sponge to exert a carcinogenic effect.

Our data indicate that SATB2-AS1 acts as a miR-299-3p sponge to facilitate NSCLC development, providing a novel candidate therapeutic target for NSCLC.

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