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EMBO Mol Med. 2012 Mar;4(3):143-59. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201100209. Epub 2012 Feb 20.

MicroRNA dysregulation in cancer: diagnostics, monitoring and therapeutics. A comprehensive review.

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Start Up Unit, Department of Experimental Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milano, Italy.


Early studies have shown how aberrantly expressed microRNAs are a hallmark of several diseases like cancer. MicroRNA expression profiling was shown to be associated with tumour development, progression and response to therapy, suggesting their possible use as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Moreover, based on the increasing number of studies demonstrating that microRNAs can function as potential oncogenes or oncosuppressor genes, with the goal to improve disease response and increase cure rates, miRNA-based anticancer therapies have recently been exploited, either alone or in combination with current targeted therapies. The advantage of using microRNA approaches is based on its ability to concurrently target multiple effectors of pathways involved in cell differentiation, proliferation and survival. Here, we review our current knowledge about the involvement of microRNAs in cancer, and their potential as diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools.

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