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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2014 Apr;14(3):347-63. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2014.901153.

microRNAs: a new class of breast cancer biomarkers.

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  • 1UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulatory molecules known to be aberrantly expressed in cancer and contribute to numerous aspects of tumor biology including the initiation, growth and spread of the tumor. With such diverse roles, it is becoming apparent that some may also provide valuable information which may be of use in a clinical setting, demonstrating the potential to act as both screening tools for the stratification of high-risk patients, while informing the treatment decision-making process. There is mounting evidence to suggest that some miRNAs may even provide assistance in the diagnosis of patients with breast cancer. In addition, miRNAs may themselves be considered therapeutic targets, with inhibition or reintroduction of a particular miRNA capable of inducing a response in vivo. This review focuses on miRNAs that have prognostic, diagnostic or predictive potential in breast cancer as well as the possible challenges in the translation of such observations to the clinic.

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