MicroRNAs as cancer players: potential clinical and biological effects

DNA Cell Biol. 2007 May;26(5):273-82. doi: 10.1089/dna.2006.0544.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are nonprotein-coding RNAs that function as posttranscriptional gene regulators. They can regulate their targets directly by mRNA cleavage or by repressing their translation, depending on the degree of complementariety between the miRNA and the target. Recent evidences have shown that miRNA control cell growth, apoptosis, and differentiation. Moreover, miRNA expression correlates with cancers and could have a crucial function in tumor progression. Bioinformatic data indicates that each miRNA can control hundreds of target genes, but identification of the accurate miRNA targets will be crucial to exploit the emerging knowledge of miRNA contribution to cancer process. While the miRNA field is still emerging, the benefit of our understanding of miRNA in cancer is potentially enormous, especially if we are able to apply this knowledge to provide new therapies for patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Growth Processes / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy


  • MicroRNAs