MicroRNAs--the micro steering wheel of tumour metastases

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Apr;9(4):293-302. doi: 10.1038/nrc2619. Epub 2009 Mar 5.


Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been discovered to have a role in metastasis. Here we describe how miRNAs are involved in advanced stages of tumour progression, stressing their roles as metastasis activators or suppressors, and discuss their possible use in the clinic as predictive markers and as therapeutic strategies for patients with metastases. Furthermore, we develop the concept that the same miRNAs could be involved both in the cancer stem cell phenotype and in the ability of specific cancer cells to produce metastases, thus representing a mechanistic link between the initial and the final steps of tumorigenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / therapy
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs