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Orv Hetil. 2012 Jun 24;153(25):978-89. doi: 10.1556/OH.2012.29387.

[MicroRNAs in hepatocarcinogenesis].

[Article in Hungarian]

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Semmelweis Egyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar II. Patológiai Intézet Budapest Üllői út 93. 1091.


The details of molecular alterations occurring during hepatocarcinogenesis have not been revealed yet. Nevertheless, it is known that microRNAs (miRNA), these short RNA molecules regulating gene expression mainly in a negative way, are also involved in this process. Altered miRNA expression levels are present in liver diseases when compared with normal liver tissue, and the observed alterations depend mainly on which is more advantegous for the disease: activation or inhibition of the genes (e.g. oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes) regulated by the altered miRNAs. The miRNA expression pattern described in hepatocellular carcinoma seems to differ the most from that found in the normal liver; however, remarkable alterations at miRNA levels have been published in early stages of hepatic tumor progression such as fibrosis and chronic hepatitis. For example, the expression of miR-21, miR-221, miR-222 and miR-199a showing characteristic alterations in hepatocellular carcinoma also displayed deregulated expressions in these two early stages. The liver characteristic miRNA, miR-122, usually exhibits a decreased expression level upon liver injury as well as miR-122 expression tends to decrease as hepatic carcinogenesis progresses. Besides, miR-122 enhances the replication of hepatitis C virus and the initial low or high level of miR-122 seems to influence the efficiency of interferon therapy. Recently, statistically significant differences have been detected in the expression of several miRNAs being present in the serum of patients with chronic hepatitis, chirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma when compared with normal controls. It suggests that serum miRNAs could be potential biomarkers. In this article, the major and recent alterations of microRNA expression patterns in stages of hepatocarcinogenesis such as fibrosis, viral infections (hepatitis), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma are summarized.

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