Post-transcriptional regulation in cancer

Biol Cell. 2004 Sep;96(7):479-98. doi: 10.1016/j.biolcel.2004.05.002.


Deregulation of gene expression is a hallmark of the cancer cell. Acquiring a new profile of expressed proteins may enable the cell to re-enter the cell cycle, or give them a growth or motility advantage over "normal cells". An efficient and rapid way to alter gene expression is via regulation of mRNAs already transcribed. Modifications of mRNA stability and/or translational efficiency are increasingly reported in cancer. mRNA stability and translation are controlled through a complex network of RNA/protein interactions involving recognition of specific target mRNAs by RNA-BPs. We review how alterations in regulatory sequences, RNA-BPs, or in upstream signalling pathways affect the stability and/or translational efficiency of mRNAs encoding proto-oncogenes, cytokines, cell cycle regulators and other regulatory proteins to promote tumorigenesis and cancer progression. A more thorough understanding of post-transcriptional mechanisms such as these will enable the design and development of specific therapies based on modulating the translation or stability of specific mRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • 3' Untranslated Regions / metabolism
  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • 5' Untranslated Regions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional* / genetics
  • RNA Stability / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins