Background: Gastric cancer (GC) is a malignant tumor of digestive tract with high mortality. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of GC and obtaining new molecular targets are particularly important for the prevention and treatment of GC. The discovery of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) provides the possibility for further elucidating the molecular mechanisms of GC and discovering new molecular markers.

Aim: Here, we aimed to explore the function and the mechanism of lncRNA PITPNA-AS1 in GC.

Methods: High-throughput lncRNA microarray was used to compare the differences in expression profiles between tumor tissues and adjacent tissues, and to filtrate the differentially expressed lncRNAs in tumors. To analyze the relationship between lncRNA expression and clinicopathological parameters in GC. The apoptosis was detected by down-regulation of lncRNA. The effect of down-regulated lncRNA PITPNA-AS1 on the migration and invasion of GC cells was determined by wound healing and Transwell assays. The function of lncRNA PITPNA-AS1 on tumor growth was verified by tumor experiment in nude mice. Analysis of target interaction relationship was performed by luciferase assay.

Results: The results of high throughput chip analysis identified that PITPNA-AS1 was up-regulated in GC tissues. Our data revealed that knockdown of PITPNA-AS1 was able to inhibit tumor development of GC cells. Meanwhile, PITPNA-AS1 could regulate SOX4 expression via targeting miR-92a-3p.

Conclusion: Thus, we concluded that PITPNA-AS1 induced the development of GC cells by inhibiting miR-92a-3p and inducing SOX4. Our finding presents novel insights of GC, which may provide an underlying therapeutic target for GC treatment.