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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2014 Nov;14(8):999-1021. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2014.946907. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

An update on microRNAs as colorectal cancer biomarkers: where are we and what's next?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Laboratory, Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and Baylor Research Institute, Baylor University Medical Center, 3500 Gaston Avenue, Suite H-250, Dallas, Texas 75246-2017, USA.


miRNAs are abundant classes of small, endogenous non-coding RNAs, which inhibit the expression of target gene via post-transcriptional regulation. In addition to an important functional role miRNAs play in carcinogenesis, emerging evidence has demonstrated their feasibility as robust cancer biomarkers. In particular, the recent discovery of miRNAs in the body fluids provides an attractive opportunity for the development of non-invasive biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis and predictive response to cancer therapy. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and accumulating data provides a compelling case for the potential exploitation of miRNAs as CRC-biomarkers. This review summarizes the current state of literature in the field, focusing on the clinical relevance of miRNAs as potential biomarkers for CRC treatment and discussing the forthcoming challenges to further advance this exciting field of 'academic research' into 'bedside clinical care' of patients suffering from CRC.


adenoma; biomarker; blood; colorectal cancer; diagnosis; feces; miRNA; prediction; prognosis

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