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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Oct 18;14(10):20930-53. doi: 10.3390/ijms141020930.

MicroRNA-regulated pathways in hematological malignancies: how to avoid cells playing out of tune.

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Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", Sapienza University of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy.


The coordinated expression and interplay among lineage specific transcription factors and microRNAs contribute to the regulation of gene expression and determination of cell specificity. In hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), unique combinations of transcription factors largely control growth and maturation of different blood cell lineages through cooperative regulation of specific target genes. MicroRNAs provide an additional level of control beyond transcription factors. By acting as regulators of crucial lineage-specific genetic programs, microRNAs direct early multipotential progenitor cells to adopt a certain cell fate program. Thus, alteration of specific microRNA levels may affect proliferation, differentiation and genetic stability of HSCs, contributing to the onset of myeloproliferative disorders and leukemia. The major aim of this review is to highlight the critical role of microRNA-regulated pathways during the establishment and progression of hematological malignancies, with a particular attention to leukemia, lymphomas and myelodysplastic syndromes. This will give us the opportunity to discuss the potential use of microRNA-based therapeutic approaches in these diseases. MicroRNAs are indeed emerging as relevant tools to improve the efficacy of currently used therapeutic protocols.

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