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Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2016 Jan 28;1:15004. doi: 10.1038/sigtrans.2015.4. eCollection 2016.

The role of MicroRNAs in human cancer.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Biotherapy, Chengdu, China.
Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small non-coding RNAs that function in regulation of gene expression. Compelling evidences have demonstrated that miRNA expression is dysregulated in human cancer through various mechanisms, including amplification or deletion of miRNA genes, abnormal transcriptional control of miRNAs, dysregulated epigenetic changes and defects in the miRNA biogenesis machinery. MiRNAs may function as either oncogenes or tumor suppressors under certain conditions. The dysregulated miRNAs have been shown to affect the hallmarks of cancer, including sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, activating invasion and metastasis, and inducing angiogenesis. An increasing number of studies have identified miRNAs as potential biomarkers for human cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic targets or tools, which needs further investigation and validation. In this review, we focus on how miRNAs regulate the development of human tumors by acting as tumor suppressors or oncogenes.

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