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Cell Biosci. 2015 Jun 20;5:32. doi: 10.1186/s13578-015-0028-8. eCollection 2015.

The roles of microRNAs in the regulation of tumor metastasis.

Zhou L#1,2, Liu F#1,3, Wang X1, Ouyang G4.

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Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Chronic Liver Disease and Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Zhongshan Hospital, Medical College, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361004 China.
Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, 210029 China.
Medical College, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361102 China.
State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology, Innovation Center for Cell Signaling Network, School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361102 China.
Contributed equally


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by either inhibiting protein translation or degrading target mRNAs. The differential expression profiles of miRNAs in different types of cancers and in the multi-step process of tumor progression indicate that miRNAs are involved in tumor onset, growth and progression. Metastasis is the most common cause of cancer-related mortality. Current evidence demonstrates that aberrant miRNA expression promotes or inhibits tumor metastasis by modulating the expression of numerous target genes. Therefore, the identification of metastasis-related miRNAs and a better understanding of the complex functions of miRNAs in tumor metastasis will provide potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, as well as therapeutic targets for clinical application. Here, we review the functions of miRNAs in the control of multiple steps of tumor metastasis.


Cancer; Cancer stem cell; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Metastasis; microRNA

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