MicroRNAs and cancer stem cells: the sword and the shield

X Sun, X Jiao, T G Pestell, C Fan, S Qin, E Mirabelli, H Ren, R G Pestell
Oncogene 2014 October 16, 33 (42): 4967-77
Emerging chemotherapy drugs and targeted therapies have been widely applied in anticancer treatment and have given oncologists a promising future. Nevertheless, regeneration and recurrence are still huge obstacles on the way to cure cancer. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are capable of self-renewal, tumor initiation, recurrence, metastasis, therapy resistance, and reside as a subset in many, if not all, cancers. Therefore, therapeutics specifically targeting and killing CSCs are being identified, and may be promising and effective strategies to eliminate cancer. MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs), small noncoding RNAs regulating gene expression in a post-transcriptional manner, are dysregulated in most malignancies and are identified as important regulators of CSCs. However, limited knowledge exists for biological and molecular mechanism by which miRNAs regulate CSCs. In this article, we review CSCs, miRNAs and the interactions between miRNA regulation and CSCs, with a specific focus on the molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. This review will help us to know in detail how CSCs are regulated by miRNAs networks and also help to develop more effective and secure miRNA-based clinical therapies.

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