Send to

Choose Destination
Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2015 Jan;81:128-41. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2014.05.009. Epub 2014 May 22.

In vivo delivery of miRNAs for cancer therapy: challenges and strategies.

Author information

Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address:
Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan, ROC.
Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, can regulate post-transcriptional gene expressions and silence a broad set of target genes. miRNAs, aberrantly expressed in cancer cells, play an important role in modulating gene expressions, thereby regulating downstream signaling pathways and affecting cancer formation and progression. Oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes regulated by miRNAs mediate cell cycle progression, metabolism, cell death, angiogenesis, metastasis and immunosuppression in cancer. Recently, miRNAs have emerged as therapeutic targets or tools and biomarkers for diagnosis and therapy monitoring in cancer. Since miRNAs can regulate multiple cancer-related genes simultaneously, using miRNAs as a therapeutic approach plays an important role in cancer therapy. However, one of the major challenges of miRNA-based cancer therapy is to achieve specific, efficient and safe systemic delivery of therapeutic miRNAs in vivo. This review discusses the key challenges to the development of the carriers for miRNA-based therapy and explores current strategies to systemically deliver miRNAs to cancer without induction of toxicity.


Cancer therapy; Gene delivery; In vivo delivery; Nanotechnology; miRNA

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center