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Tumors grow because cancer cells lack the ability to balance cell survival and death signaling pathways. miR-596, a microRNA located at the 8p23.3 locus, has been shown by the TCGA-Assembler to be deleted in a significant number of melanoma samples. Here, we also validated the low levels of miR-596 in melanoma compared to tissue nevi, and Kaplan−Meier curve analysis revealed that low miR-596 expression was associated with worse overall survival. Moreover, we showed that miR-596 overexpression effectively inhibited MAPK/ERK signaling, cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and increased the cell apoptosis of melanoma cells. In addition, we found that miR-596 directly targets MEK1 and two apoptotic proteins, MCL1, and BCL2L1, in melanoma cells. Our findings indicated that miR-596 is an important miRNA that both negatively regulates the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway by targeting MEK1 and modulates the apoptosis pathway by targeting MCL1 and BCL2L1, suggesting that miR-596 could be a therapeutic candidate for treating melanoma, and a prognostic factor for melanoma patients.
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