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Cancer Sci. 2012 May;103(5):837-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2012.02236.x. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Tumor-suppressive microRNA silenced by tumor-specific DNA hypermethylation in cancer cells.

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Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


MicroRNA (miRNA) genes, located in intergenic or intragenic non-coding regions of the genome, are transcribed and processed to small non-protein-coding RNA of approximately 22 nucleotides negatively regulating gene expression. Some miRNA have already been reported for their genetic alterations, aberrant expression and oncogenic or tumor-suppressive functions. After 2008, there has been a striking increase in the number of publications reporting tumor-suppressive miRNA (TS-miRNA) silenced epigenetically in various types of cancers, suggesting important clinical applications for miRNA-based molecular diagnosis and therapy for cancers. Here, we introduce a correlation of the gene silencing of TS-miRNA through CpG island hypermethylation with the genomic distances between intergenic and intragenic miRNA genes or protein-coding host genes and CpG islands located around these genes. Furthermore, we also discuss the potential of miRNA replacement therapy for cancers using double-stranded RNA mimicking TS-miRNA.

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