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J Transl Med. 2014 Aug 21;12:231. doi: 10.1186/s12967-014-0231-0.

The impact of microRNA-mediated PI3K/AKT signaling on epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stemness in endometrial cancer.

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Department of Women's Health Educational System, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, N15, W7, Sapporo 0608638, Japan.


Activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway, a common mechanism in all subtypes of endometrial cancers (endometrioid and non-endometrioid tumors), has important roles in contributing to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stem cell (CSC) features. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that concurrently affect multiple target genes, and regulate a wide range of genes involved in modulating EMT and CSC properties. Here we overview the recent advances revealing the impact of miRNAs on EMT and CSC phenotypes in tumors including endometrial cancer via regulating PI3K/AKT pathway. MiRNAs are crucial mediators of EMT and CSC through targeting PTEN-PI3K-AKT-mTOR axis. In endometrial cancer cells, miRNAs can activate or attenuate EMT and CSC by targeting PTEN and other EMT-associated genes, such as Twist1, ZEB1 and BMI-1. More detailed studies of miRNAs will deepen our understanding of the molecular basis underlying PI3K/AKT-induced endometrial cancer initiation and progression. Targeting key signaling components of PI3K/AKT pathway by restoring or inhibiting miRNA function holds promise as a potential therapeutic approach to suppress EMT and CSC in endometrial cancer.

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