Identification of links between small molecules and miRNAs in human cancers based on transcriptional responses

Sci Rep. 2012:2:282. doi: 10.1038/srep00282. Epub 2012 Feb 21.


The use of small molecules to target miRNAs is a new type of therapy for human diseases, particularly cancers. We proposed a novel high-throughput approach to identify the biological links between small molecules and miRNAs in 23 different cancers and constructed the Small Molecule-MiRNA Network (SMirN) for each cancer to systematically analyze the properties of their associations. In each SMirN, we partitioned small molecules (miRNAs) into modules, in which small molecules (miRNAs) were connected with one miRNA (small molecule). Almost all of the miRNA modules comprised miRNAs that had similar target genes and functions or were members of the same miRNA family. Most of the small molecule modules involved compounds with similar chemical structures, modes of action, or drug interactions. These modules can be used to identify drug candidates and new indications for existing drugs. Therefore, our approach is valuable to drug discovery and cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • MicroRNAs