Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer: possible role of microRNAs in this intimate relationship

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2009 Sep;15(9):806-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2009.02960.x.


Chronic infection by Helicobacter pylori is a major risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. H. pylori possesses a set of virulence factors, including the CagA effector, which interferes with intracellular signalling pathways and mediates phenotypic alterations, strongly evoking neoplasic transformation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression involved in development, cell proliferation and immune responses. miRNAs are frequently altered in cancers, revealing their functions as oncogenes or tumour suppressors. However, the role, if any, that miRNAs play in the host cell responses to H. pylori remains unknown. This review considers the possible involvement of some miRNAs, including miR-146, miR-155, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-106-93-25 and miR-221-222 clusters and the miR-200 family in H. pylori-induced infection and gastric cancers. Further exploration of miRNA-mediated gene silencing, taking into account the relationship between host targets and bacterial effectors, will most certainly bring new insights into the control of gene expression in human gastric cells chronically infected by H. pylori.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Helicobacter pylori / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology*


  • MicroRNAs