Diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications of microRNAs in urologic tumors

Nat Rev Urol. 2010 May;7(5):286-97. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2010.45. Epub 2010 Apr 6.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that have an important role in the regulation of carcinogenic pathways. The observations that miRNAs are differentially expressed in tumor versus corresponding normal tissue, and that they regulate important breakpoints during carcinogenesis, are of interest for urologic oncologists. As biomarkers, they might be helpful tools for diagnostic, prognostic and monitoring purposes. Furthermore, miRNAs might be potential targets for novel therapeutic strategies, especially in patients with tumor subtypes that do not respond to currently available therapies. In this Review, we will focus on the current proceedings of miRNA research in urologic tumors. In the past decade, the number of published articles related to miRNAs in urologic oncology has increased, highlighting the ongoing importance of miRNAs in this field. Current studies support the hypothesis that miRNA will gain influence in clinical practice. Here, therefore, we illustrate the current knowledge of miRNA function in urologic tumors and draw the attention of urologists to the future opportunities and challenges of this research field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs*
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • MicroRNAs