Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is kind of common and aggressive malignant tumors with high incidence and mortality all over the world. Accumulating studies have reported that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) can play a vital regulatory role in human cancers. THAP9 antisense RNA 1 (THAP9-AS1) has been identified as an oncogene in several cancers. But its role in ESCC remains to be studied. In our research, THAP9-AS1 expression in ESCC cell lines was analyzed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Cell proliferation, migration, invasion and apoptosis as well as EMT process were analyzed by 5-Ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine ( EdU), Transwell, Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) and western blot experiments. The interplay of THAP9-AS1, miR-335-5p and sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SGMS2) was analyzed by luciferase reporter assay and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assay. We discovered that THAP9-AS1 was highly expressed in ESCC cell lines and that the knockdown of THAP9-AS1 inhibited proliferation, migration, and invasion as well as EMT of ECSS cells but enhanced cell apoptosis. Furthermore, miR-335-5p was proved to be sponged by THAP9-AS1 and its up-regulation could repress ESCC progression. Additionally, SGMS2 was verified to be the target gene of miR-335-5p. In rescue assay, SGMS2 overexpression could offset the suppressive role of THAP9-AS1 depletion on ESCC progression. In short, THAP9-AS1 accelerated cell growth of ESCC through sponging miR-335-5p to regulate SGMS2.
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