MicroRNAs: Crucial multi-tasking components in the complex circuitry of tumor metastasis

Cell Cycle. 2009 Nov 1;8(21):3506-12. doi: 10.4161/cc.8.21.9802. Epub 2009 Nov 13.


Distant metastases are the underlying cause of patient mortality in an overwhelming majority of human carcinomas. Certain microRNAs have recently been found capable of regulating the process of tumor metastasis. In this review, we highlight advances within this rapidly emerging field, endeavor to connect known microRNA pathways with recent conceptual advances in the larger field of metastasis research, and speculate regarding the future utility of microRNAs in the diagnosis and treatment of human cancers. Assessed collectively, current evidence suggests that the pleiotropic activities of microRNAs endow them with the capacity to function as crucial, yet previously unappreciated, nodes within already-identified metastasis regulatory circuitry. This has important implications for our understanding of the pathogenesis of high-grade malignancies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / genetics
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis* / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis* / therapy
  • SOXC Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • SOXC Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CD44 protein, human
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • MicroRNAs
  • SOX4 protein, human
  • SOXC Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors