New role of microRNA: carcinogenesis and clinical application in cancer

Luqing Zhao, Xue Chen, Ya Cao
Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica 2011, 43 (11): 831-9
MicroRNA (miRNA) is a cluster of small non-encoding RNA molecules of 21-23 nucleotides in length, which controls the expression of target gene at the post-transcriptional level. Recent researches have indicated that miRNA plays an essential role in carcinogenesis, such as affecting the cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and cell cycle. Nowadays, multiple promising roles of miRNA involved in carcinogenesis are emerging, and it is shown that miRNA closely relates to the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), the regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), the development of tumor invasion and migration. miRNA also acts as a biomarker stably expressed in serum and provides new target for molecular target therapy of various cancers. The aim of this review is to illustrate the new role of miRNA in carcinogenesis and highlight the new prospects of miRNA in cancer clinical application, such as in serological diagnosis and molecular-targeted therapeutics.

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