microRNA, cell cycle, and human breast cancer

Am J Pathol. 2010 Mar;176(3):1058-64. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090664. Epub 2010 Jan 14.


The discovery of microRNAs as a novel class of gene expression regulators has led to a new strategy for disease diagnostics and therapeutics. Cell cycle, cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis are all regulated by microRNAs. Several general principles linking microRNAs and cancer have been recently reviewed; therefore, the current review focuses specifically on the perspective of microRNAs in control of cell cycle, stem cells, and heterotypic signaling, as well as the role of these processes in breast cancer. Altered abundance of cell cycle regulation proteins and aberrant expression of microRNAs frequently coexist in human breast cancers. Altered microRNA expression in breast cancer cell lines is associated with altered cell cycle progression and cell proliferation. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated a causal role for microRNA in governing breast tumor suppression or collaborative oncogenesis. This review summarizes the current understanding of the role for microRNA in regulating the cell cycle and summarizes the evidence for aberrant microRNA expression in breast cancer. The new evidence for microRNA regulation by annotated genes and the involvement of microRNA in breast cancer metastasis are discussed, as is the potential for microRNA to improve breast cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Cycle / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs