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Cells. 2020 Jan 9;9(1). pii: E169. doi: 10.3390/cells9010169.

Role of microRNAs as Clinical Cancer Biomarkers for Ovarian Cancer: A Short Overview.

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Department of Anatomy, Animal Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, 91-95 Splaiul Independenței, 050095 Bucharest, Romania.
Center for Advanced Laser Technologies (CETAL), National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics, 409 Atomiștilor St., 77125 Măgurele, Romania.
Department of General Surgery, Sf. Maria Clinical Hospital, 'Carol Davila' University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 37-39 Ion Mihalache Blvd., 011172 Bucharest, Romania.
Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, 'Horia Hulubei' National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, 30 Reactorului, 077125 Măgurele, Romania.
Life, Environmental and Earth Sciences Division, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), University of Bucharest, 91-95 Splaiul Independenţei, 050095 Bucharest, Romania.
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and Histology, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 8 Eroii Sanitari Blvd., 050474 Bucharest, Romania.
Fetal Medicine Excellence Research Center, 'Alessandrescu-Rusescu' National Institute of Mother and Child Health, 120 Lacul Tei Blvd., 020395 Bucharest, Romania.
Department of Surgical Oncology, Alexandru Trestioreanu Oncology Institute, 'Carol Davila' University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 252 Fundeni Rd., 022328 Bucharest, Romania.


Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate among gynecological cancers. Early clinical signs are missing and there is an urgent need to establish early diagnosis biomarkers. MicroRNAs are promising biomarkers in this respect. In this paper, we review the most recent advances regarding the alterations of microRNAs in ovarian cancer. We have briefly described the contribution of miRNAs in the mechanisms of ovarian cancer invasion, metastasis, and chemotherapy sensitivity. We have also summarized the alterations underwent by microRNAs in solid ovarian tumors, in animal models for ovarian cancer, and in various ovarian cancer cell lines as compared to previous reviews that were only focused the circulating microRNAs as biomarkers. In this context, we consider that the biomarker screening should not be limited to circulating microRNAs per se, but rather to the simultaneous detection of the same microRNA alteration in solid tumors, in order to understand the differences between the detection of nucleic acids in early vs. late stages of cancer. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo models should also validate these microRNAs, which could be very helpful as preclinical testing platforms for pharmacological and/or molecular genetic approaches targeting microRNAs. The enormous quantity of data produced by preclinical and clinical studies regarding the role of microRNAs that act synergistically in tumorigenesis mechanisms that are associated with ovarian cancer subtypes, should be gathered, integrated, and compared by adequate methods, including molecular clustering. In this respect, molecular clustering analysis should contribute to the discovery of best biomarkers-based microRNAs assays that will enable rapid, efficient, and cost-effective detection of ovarian cancer in early stages. In conclusion, identifying the appropriate microRNAs as clinical biomarkers in ovarian cancer might improve the life quality of patients.


biomarker; early diagnosis; microRNA; molecular clustering analysis; ovarian cancer

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