mRNA Stability and Cancer: An Emerging Link?

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2007 Oct;7(10):1515-29. doi: 10.1517/14712598.7.10.1515.


Many oncogenes, growth factor, cytokine and cell-cycle genes are regulated post-transcriptionally. The major mechanism is by controlling the rate of mRNA turnover for transcripts bearing destabilizing cis-elements. To date, only a handful of regulatory factors have been identified that appear to control a large pool of target mRNAs, suggesting that a slight perturbation in the control mechanism may generate wide-ranging effects that could contribute to the development of a complex disorder such as cancer. In support of this view, mRNA turnover responds to signalling pathways that are often overactive in cancer, suggesting a post-transcriptional component in addition to the well-recognised transcriptional aspect of oncogenesis. Here the authors review examples of deregulated post-transcriptional control in oncogenesis, discuss post-transcriptionally regulated transcripts of oncologic significance, and consider the key role of signalling pathways in linking both processes and as an enticing therapeutic prospect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Pairing
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein D / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Oncogenes
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA Stability*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein D
  • RNA, Messenger