The roles of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) MCF2L-AS1 have been identified in colorectal cancer, however, its roles in lung cancer progression have never been revealed. Here, we found that lncRNA MCF2L-AS1 was highly expressed in lung cancer tissues and cells, especially in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Functional experiments showed that MCF2L-AS1 knockdown suppressed the cancer stem cell (CSC)-like traits of NSCLC cells through qRT-PCR, western blot, tumor-sphere formation, and ALDH activity detection. Additionally, bioinformatic assay combined with RNA pull down and luciferase reporter analysis confirmed that MCF2L-AS1 downregulated miR-873-5p level. Furthermore, miR-873-5p expression exhibited a lower level in lung cancer tissues and cells, and a negative correlation with MCF2L-AS1 expression in lung cancer tissues. Moreover, miR-873-5p inhibition partially reversed the suppression of MCF2L-AS1 on the CSC-like traits on NSCLC cells. Thus, this work identifies a novel MCF2L-AS1/miR-873-5p regulatory axis responsible for the CSC-like traits of NSCLC cells.
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