[Role of microRNA in cancer development: biology and clinical applications]

Ryou-u Takahashi, Ono Makiko, Takahiro Ochiya
Nihon Geka Gakkai Zasshi 2012, 113 (2): 197-203
The role of RNA, as commonly understood, is to carry the genetic code for protein from the DNA to the sites of protein production. Over the years, however, new forms of RNA were discovered, such as microRNA (miRNA) and large intergenic noncoding RNA, and the range of RNA function was extended, miRNA constitutes a large family of small, approximately 20-nucleotide-long, noncoding RNA which controls the expression of target genes at the posttranscriptional level. Recent studies have indicated that miRNA plays an essential role in cancer biology by affecting cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis as well as the cell cycle. This review summarizes the newly determined role of miRNA in cancer development, discusses some controversies regarding different functions of miRNA, and highlights the prospects for clinical applications of miRNA, such as therapeutic targets and diagnostic markers.

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